After two months of undeclared campaigning provincial politicians now have four weeks to convince the voters what they can do for the province, or what the other guys will do to screw up the province.
Provincial politics is how the rest of Canada knows B.C. — Bill Vander Zalm, Wacky Bennett, Phil Gaglardi... all the way back to Amor De Cosmos, B.C. is the nation’s best political satire show without even trying.
Earlier we saw the ambitious premier and the equally ambitious former independent MLA for West Vancouver-Garibaldi trip all over themselves in the rush to replace Ted Hughes in the conflict of interest commissioner post. This week we learn that there are two Richard Lees, one a Liberal the other a Progressive Democratic Alliance candidate, contesting the seat in Burnaby North. There’s also Joey (Shithead) Keithley, lead singer for veteran punk band DOA, contesting the seat in Burnaby Willingdon under the Green Party flag. Unfortunately Keithley is on tour with his band for the next month-and-a-half so probably won’t even get a chance to vote, never mind campaign.
Closer to home, there should be some earnest debate among the five candidates in West Vancouver-Garibaldi, but nothing on the level of Rodney Glynn-Morris, the former Love Boat doctor who claimed to have been offered a bribe in exchange for the highly-coveted Socred nomination. Funny, Mike Becker got the party nomination uncontested this time around.
In the days immediately prior to Tuesday’s election writ we had Robin Blencoe, the disgraced former NDP cabinet minister accused of harassing several women, announcing he was starting an advertising campaign against his old party. We were also treated to Liberal MLA Alan Warnke announcing he was finally fed up with Gordon Campbell’s leadership and leaving the party.
If the old cliché about voters getting the politicians they deserve is true we need look no further than our own naval for the source of B.C. politics’ lunacy. A UBC poll found 26 per cent of B.C. voters thought unemployment was the province’s main problem, but 60 per cent said they would choose environmental protection over job creation, if it came down to a choice between the two.
But the master of the absurd has to be Premier Clark. If he can convince voters to believe the accounting released Tuesday that shows B.C. is headed toward a budget surplus even after the last two months billion-dollar promises he will deserve his place alongside such colourful predecessors as Vander Zalm, Bennett and De Cosmos.