“If God had wanted us to vote, he’d have given us candidates.” – Jay Leno If ever there was a quote for all political seasons that has to be it.
You’d swear Jay was talking about B.C., as disgraced former premier Bill Vander Zalm launches a campaign to protest the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) — introduced by current Artful Dodger Gordon Campbell without warning — while perpetual opposition carp Carol James looks on, rubbing her hands with sanctimonious glee, but refusing to say if she’d repeal the HST if she gets elected.
It’s a plot for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels II, great fun except it’s our province.
Whatever you think of the HST, you have to agree this is the most shameless spectacle of political opportunism since Man of the People Glen Clark went to work for Boss of the People Jimmy Pattison, and everyone lived happily ever after. Vander Zalm has been looking for a way back into the light since he resigned over irregularities in the sale of Fantasy Gardens.
Taking on the HST is like shooting fish in a barrel and could restore Smilin’ Bill to his former status as most popular guy in the room. So what if he’s embarrassing his own political party and providing comfort to the enemy? All’s fair in self-love and politics.
Cambell has hardly covered himself in glory either. Just before the May election, he swore his government was not considering harmonizing provincial and federal sales tax and then after he got elected, he went and did it anyway. And well he might, as the option is to forfeit federal transition funds of $1.6 billion, even as he faces a sea of red ink and service cutbacks across the board.
Why didn’t he trust the voters and drag the dreaded, drooling tax onto the platform and let us decide? Was it because he wasn’t going to give Carol James an issue when she couldn’t find one on her own, and he knew the prospects of getting elected on the HST ticket were zero to none? Duh? Then there’s Carol James, who keeps waiting for Campbell to get himself defeated so she doesn’t actually have to put together a platform. So far, that strategy has led to a Liberal three-peat, and you have to ask yourself: Why is she in politics again?
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Because it’s a nice job with a swell pension? Frankly, my dear, we knew all this was coming when the economy went into the tank, and we went ahead and voted for Campbell and the status quo anyway. As Jay Leno indicates, who was the alternative? Carol James? Jane Sterk? Bill Vander Zalm?