What do families have to do with the environment?
Quite a bit, actually.
The Campbell/Clark government is looking for an issue to run on and the Family is the answer the backroom boys and girls have decided is the best one.
This decision is sure as hell not based upon the government’s great successes in this ministry. In fact they have been a near disaster if not a full one. Mind you, in fairness, this isn’t the area that’s good to any government and the NDP had its share of problems but the point is simple – why would the C/C government run on a failure?
Easy – everything else has been worse.
Let’s start with law and order, a favourite for all rightwing governments. The major problem here is BC Rail. This is where the Government put the fix in and settled the Basi-Virk bribe case just as Gordon Campbell and former Finance Minister Gary Collins were to give evidence.
The first version by crown counsel Bill Berardino was that he had made the deal all on its own, then it was with the Deputy Attorney-General – then it had the Deputy Finance Minister involved and before you knew it, it was obvious that the whole cabinet had to be in the know. Crown Counsel looked bad thus so did the entire A/G ministry.
What then about fiscal probity? Surely the Liberals could claim that here’s where the Campbell/Clark government shone as it made the NDP era look so bad.
Unfortunately for them, it did the opposite as all the yardsticks by which you gauge these matters, the NDP look like paragons of fiscal prudence by comparison. The only evidence that the Liberals did well was the bullshit they peddled.
Let’s look at two areas, the 2009 fudge-it budget.
You will recall that in 2009 the Liberals presented a nice rosy “election budget” which went a long way towards painting themselves as fiscal geniuses especially compared to that wastrel NDP. The trouble was that the budget was a falsehood by over $1 BILLION dollars.
And how they explained it took the breath away. Why, how were they to know that there was a world wide recession?
Apparently they hadn’t heard of the financial meltdown the previous year including a stock market crash.
To fudge a budget then win an election based upon their ignorance of what the rest crown counsel is one thing – to pretend that you, a self declared fiscal genius, didn’t know what everyone else in the world knew takes the breath away.
The HST scarcely needs further comment except that the Campbell/Clark government lied through its teeth as became obvious when we learned that then Finance Minister Colin Hansen had, two months previous, been given a report by his ministry telling the minister what a bad deal it was.
What about “health” as an issue?
Every opposition loves this issue because they would have been much better but governments know better and avoid the issue like the plague.
Well, then, what about the environment? Surely Pat Kinsella and the boys have lots to work with here?
Everywhere in this broad field has been a self created disaster for the C/C government starting with fish farms. Ignoring all the scientific evidence, the government took its advice from a discredited DFO “scientist” and fish farms prospered decimating wild salmon runs in the bargain. While the debate from our side of the issue talked about penned fish escaping and the horrendous damage done to migrating wild salmon now an even bigger threat has appeared – disease from contaminated eggs from Norway which all but wiped out the fish farm industry in Chile. The Campbell/Clark government have made a bad idea into a catastrophe. Not a good election issue.
Then there is the energy plan which gives the creation of power to private companies that not only bugger up the rivers used, but have the sole power to make electricity which BC Hydro must buy at a time they don’t need and loses huge sums of money, $600,000,000 last year alone. In the bargain, this policy has all but bankrupted BC Hydro and bids fair to do that in the near future.
This doesn’t look much like a good election for the C/C government does it?
Then we have the matter of the installation of Smart Meters by BC Hydro which will spend a billion dollars on it – in essence using taxpayer’s money without their MLAs having the right to ask questions. In addition to the cost, and indeed more importantly, there is a substantial health risk which, again, will not be debated in the Legislature. The Campbell/Clark government shows as much concern about the health of citizens on this issue as it did for the folks in Tsawwassen with overhead power lines.
Then there are the Sea-to-Sky and Gateway projects where the Ministry of Transportation has been aggravated by the government’s haughty attitude which was so well articulated by then Transport Minister Kevin Falcon (who is the second most powerful in the government) when he said: the Chinese “don’t have the labour or environmental restrictions we do. It’s not like they have to do community consultations. They just say ‘we’re building a bridge’ and they move everyone out of there and get going within two weeks. Could you imagine if we could build like that?”
With the Sea-to-Sky upgrading, Falcon rode roughshod over the protests of citizens of Eagleridge who wanted to preserve significant and sensitive wild preserves. With the Gateway Project, the C/C government has not only endangered wildlife preserves and Burns Bog, it’s taken whatever farmland they want without a care.
You ask, then, why is the “family” according to Premier Clark the big election issue?
Because no matter how lousy this issue is for the government, the others are all worse.