Maxed out 

Cost-cutting, right to the phalanx

By G.D. Maxwe

The Rt. Hon. Gordon Campbell

Premie of all British Columbia

Victoria, B.C.

Dear Slash:

I’m certain you’ll forgive my presumption, using your nickname, but it is that very subject about which I write.

The buzz around the mouldy halls of the Legislature is that you and the rest of your cabal are even more bereft of ideas about how to pull the province out of its tailspin than usual. I guess that makes sense as we grind toward the midterm doldrums and all the good ideas you came to office with have pretty much been executed… as have the hopes and dreams of so many whiney British Columbians.

And let’s face it, those less generous than I – and don’t kid yourself Gordo, there are a lot of folks in what you’ve come to call the heartland who are way less generous than I am, unless you consider carrying around your picture, albeit glued to a paper practice target, as a sign of endearment – would be quick to point out that you didn’t have many good ideas to run out of to begin with.

I understand a tsunami of new cutbacks is headed our way. More user fees. Fewer services. Longer waits. Guess that’s understandable, what with the Great Revitalization having fizzled like a sparkler tossed carelessly into a punch bowl at a party celebrating a future yet to be seen.

My memory isn’t what it used to be but weren’t we supposed to be running a budget surplus by now? Awash with new businesses drawn to the province like flies to coagulating blood? Jobs and opportunities thick as manna?

Or is that next year? Or next term, you presumptuous rascal you?

Wasn’t the new, Liberal regime of lower taxes, less red tape, fewer pesky regulations nitpicking about trivialities like air and water quality supposed to bootstrap B.C. back to her glory days? What happened?

And more to the point, whaddya gonna do about it?

Oh yeah, I forgot; more cutbacks, fewer services, doing less with less.

Maybe it’s time to revisit your model Gordo. Seems silly to me to stick with something that isn’t working when there are so many other things that won’t work you haven’t tried.

I remember when I used to work at this big bank back east. Like banks do every few years, this one had gone lemming-like over a cliff, pockets stuffed with worthless loans made to big corporations in the U.S., governments in South America, halfassed forays into the Far East and the usual, heavy baggage of mismanagement. Their solution to this recurring dilemma was an innovative combination of cost-cutting, human sacrifice, thinking happy thoughts and hoping the problem would go away. Hey, I bet they hired the same consultants you guys used.

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