Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Is Premier Gordon Campbell planning to jet off into the political sunset?

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column
Tuesday August 19, 2008

Just one bad move after another


Of all the stratagems, to know when to quit is the best.
- Chinese Proverb

Is Premier Gordon Campbell planning to jet off into the political sunset rather than run for re-election?

Despite all previous indications that he intends to run again in May 2009, Campbell's most recent actions make one wonder if the Beijing Olympics are the last he will attend as British Columbia's premier.

How else to explain his incomprehensible decision to fly to Beijing on a private jet chartered by longtime political and financial supporter Jack Poole, chair of the Vancouver Olympics Organizing Committee, and accompanied by major B.C. Liberal party donor Peter Brown, chair of Canaccord Capital and a VANOC member?

The story I uncovered exclusively for 24 hours on Friday is yet another amazingly poor political judgment by Campbell.

And it follows an inexplicably bad series of moves, including awarding his senior deputy minister Jessica McDonald a 43 per cent raise worth $105,000 to bring her maximum salary to $348,600.

Flying in a private jet with rich political cronies who have significant provincial government policy interests is a terrible idea. Poole is also chair of Concert Properties, which retains consultant Michael Bailey to lobby the B.C. government.

Brown's Canaccord Capital has securities regulations issues affected by provincial policies and has given the B.C. Liberals more than $195,000 since 2004, while Brown personal contributed more than $25,000.

Then there's the environment, Campbell's latest pet cause.

His despised carbon tax, which B.C. drivers have to pay, doesn't apply to his jet-setting because international flights are exempted.

And luxury jets are environmentally damaging, with a Gulfstream 400 jet spewing out 10,800 pounds of carbon per hour.

We don't know the value of Campbell's share of the flight - including wife Nancy, who joined him - but we know he consulted the Conflict of Interest Commissioner to clear it.

We also know a Gulfstream 400 jet rents out for about $13,000 per hour, which makes Campbell's trip a very pricey gift that the rules say must be declared immediately.

It's no wonder the premier's office failed to respond to twice-daily requests from 24 hours since last Monday that it disclose how Campbell got to Beijing, finally coughing up the truth Thursday night, just before our press deadline and hours before the premier returned to Vancouver.

The private jet flight also followed a despicable decision to restrict government services to developmentally disabled young adults, an outrageous giveaway worth $150 million when Western Forest Products were allowed to remove land from a tree farm licence for real estate development, the ICBC chop shop scandal and more.

Is this really the political behaviour of a premier planning to run again?


Anonymous said...

Yes, because he is arrogant enough to believe that he will win.


Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that he broke another cardinal rule--Don`t shit in your own back yard! The golf course,spirit park,land giveaway to those poor needy,desperate indigent musqueam members(lol) --Not to mention threatening to close QE school

Campbell will run and he will lose,the reason,its his only way out,hes either pure evil or as I suspect there are some freaky videos from maui,blackmail is a vicious game, the strings hanging from Campbells back are getting easier and easier to see!
I am glad he is going bye bye but too bad Campbell doesn`t have the balls to fall on his sword confess his sins and resign and take his despicable legacy of deceit and looting and pludering of provincial assets with him.
May Campbell spend his eternal life in a hot steamy HELL

Martin Campbell said...

Occam's razor: "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best."

Gord is not a complicated man. He loves power and prestige. Full stop.

This is a person who believes the taxpayers of British Columbia should (and are able) to support 43% increases in the wages of pubic serpents. It's no stretch of the imagination to think that he believes that he is entitled to rides in private jets, or that he is entitled to lower the benefits to the most vulnerable and needy or any other of the many egregious actions this man has inflicted on the people who he is supposed to be representing.

He will never, ever quit.

If the people of BC want to show this joker how they feel they need to boot him out of office prior to the olympics. Nothing and I mean nothing! will hurt him more than to lose that legacy.

At this late date it will take a miracle to find a credible opposition party to run against the bc liberals. This is the real tragedy - no viable opposition = 4 more years of crap like this.

Thanks again Bill for having a open comments section to your blog.

Martin Campbell said...

I'm sure many readers remember how Gord sucked up to Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was here visiting.

Well, if Arnold can fly on a private jet, why can't Gord? Arnold pretends to care about the environment and so does Gord. Arnold purchases 'carbon credits' to offset the use of his private jet and so does... oh wait, Gord doesn't do that.

Editorial: Air Schwarzenegger http://www.sacbee.com/110/story/772916.html

I have to agree with the prediction that Gord (elected to represent the people of BC) will throw the public a bone soon - likely a raise in minimum wages and that he'll continue to reward the civil serpents and continue to punish the most vulnerable. Let them eat cake becomes let them have a paltry minimum wage increase in the BC we have today.

Gary E said...

I think you've nailed it Bill. He is committing political suicide. No one could be that stupid as to continually deny the poor a liveable wage then pour those millions saved on political staff and appointees.

Then again he may be just that stupid. Or his arrogance has taken over what I alledge is a pea sized grey matter.

Anonymous said...

Yes he will run again, he wants the Olympics to be his legacy. If he leaves before 2010 what will be his legacy?

The Raid, BC Rail, BC Ferries, BC Hydro, RAV Line, the Convention Centre, Carbon Tax, ICBC, etc, etc., when the true costs of all this to BC comes out what a legacy this will be. We are going to be paying for this for a life time.

The real legacy through all this will be his arrogance, I'll bet he runs again. With all this he would probably love nothing more then to run again just to defeat the NDP....

Speaking of this, the other problem in BC right now, where is this great NDP leader?

Unknown said...

The REAL problem is not Gordon Campbell... It's the stupidity of the people in British Columbia for electing this person and it's the same stupidity that will elect him again in the next election. Wake up people of British Columbia and take back your province NOW before it's all sold off.


Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm still perplexed about questioning as to whether the premier or anyone else should not hitch-hike along on a corporate jet if asked.

YVR's south terminal is full of 'em.

Since Jack Poole is Chairman of Concert Properties, which is virtually wholly owned by union pension funds... was the jet chartered on behalf of Concert Properties?

Just curious.

Anonymous said...

If only one could hope that Premier Gordon Bates will finally check out of the Bates Motel on 612 Government Street.

But unfortunately this rat's survival mechanism must play second fiddle to his sociopathic self.

Premier Bates will stay at the Motel until it sinks beneath the waves.


Anonymous said...

So what ? The NDP flew over to China and had someone else foot the bill as well. In both cases taxpayers were saved money.

The real story is this Jessica McDonald and why the hell Campbell has some kind of love in with her.

If she was really as smart to be worth $ 350 K a year she would have told Gordo to hold off on the raises until after the election.

If only the NDP had a real leader. Tielman you should run.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I think Gordo will stay, though I think he is "off his nut." It has been said many times, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." This aptly describes Campbell and his minions.

Campbell acts if he is anointed by god!

He will run, the question will be: "How many Liberals will stay home on election day?

Anonymous said...

I read about a poll yesterday that says the two parties are very close in numbers. The NDP can pull it off if the members and the average citizen have decided they have had enough of King Gordo. Let's not forget the old expression. People don't vote for parties, they vote against them. Hopefully saner heads prevail and boost this gang down the road. Personally I can't stand any more hidden taxes, service charges and wait times for anything medical. Many of us can no longer afford to get on the ferry, see a chiropractor, physiotherapist or get our eyes checker by a live person. What has BC become? Best place on earth says Gordo as he cruises around in some political supporters’ chartered aircraft. No cost to us? If you believe that you sure are missing the boat. Air Canada and many other commercial airlines do fly to Beijing, so I guess even executive class is not fine enough for the convicted drunk driver. Go away Gordo while we still have at least part of this province.

Anonymous said...

Strange that so many are beginning to "diagnose" what IS Gordon Campbell - obliquely or otherwise.

I've been that way inclined for months now. However, it's easy enough to say in separate blogs that he is power-hungry, arrogant, mean, controlling and the rest. He is certainly all of those things and more.

Comes a time, though, when all those traits come together in one person it has to be called what it is. "Sociopathic" is a good start.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Bill's on to something:

NDP pulls even with Liberals
Angus Reid survey was done in mid-July after government brought in carbon tax

Jonathan Fowlie
Canwest News Service

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

B.C.'s New Democratic Party, which has spent much of the summer railing against Premier Gordon Campbell's new carbon tax, has pulled to a virtual dead heat with the ruling Liberals, a new poll shows.

Conducted by Angus Reid Strategies from July 11 to 14 for the NDP's internal use, the poll puts the NDP one point behind the Liberals.

The result represents a surprising jump for the Opposition NDP, which has long been trailing in the polls, often by between 10 to 14 points. It also serves as further evidence that issues like the carbon tax are helping to polarize voters ahead of next May's election.

"This issue [the carbon tax] is a gift to the New Democrats," said University of Victoria political scientist Dennis Pilon. "It's politicizing people before the campaign starts."

Pilon warned against reading too much into the poll.

"Interim polls are incredibly unreliable," he said, explaining that such surveys generally only capture those with strong political interests or opinions.

"I think the poll probably was an opportunity, an outlet, for people who were very, very unhappy and concerned about the rise in gas prices," he said.

"The carbon tax became the whipping boy, and the NDP quite rightly focused that attention back on the government," he added, saying it is far too early to predict how the carbon-tax issue will play out in the election next May.

The first five questions of the six-question poll asked about the carbon tax, the results of which NDP leader Carole James released last month.

The sixth question asked respondents which party they would support if "a provincial election were held tomorrow."

Forty-one per cent said they would vote Liberal, followed by 40 per cent NDP and 12 per cent who supported the Green Party.

Finance Minister Colin Hansen called the survey a "push poll" designed to get people thinking about the carbon tax before being asked which party they support.

"It's like every poll. You have to look at how questions are positioned and how the poll was structured," he said.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember Jack Poole and Peter Brown's actions 10 years ago to get Campbell into power? Perhaps a history refresher is in order BT.

If I were to place a bet, I would put my $$ on Campbell running again, then resigning after the Olympics - before the total costs were published.

@ Anonymous 12:39 PM: Hansen was right: it was a 'push' poll. And it was done online - no sense in putting any stock into that nonsense Angus Reid survey.
P.S. It is bad form to cut-N-paste an entire article -- better to snip a relevant quote or two and add a link/URL.

Anonymous said...

Anon 204 and 1239 are spinning the poll story as had Colin Hanson (In his 30 years ofn politics etc) The poll that works is the one where yo go put your ballot. Had a poll placed the Liberals ahead of the NDP it would have been a different story from Anon. Either way the folks in this provicne should be gearing up to get rid of the character who now holds the seat as Premier.
So who were the folks who paid to take the NDP to China one might ask? Who went, please explain the comment.

Anonymous said...

Here's how bad it is for the Fiberals...

The Premier, so utterly drunk on arrogance atop the hubristic prism of legacy-building, is now reaping what he has sown: The NDP, with the second most useless leader in their history (closely behind Bob Skelly) is not only within striking distance, but poised to perhaps form govt...

Worse yet, Colin Hansen, who would be the only hope left for them to resurrect the image of their clearly flagging govt (assuming St. Carole has flown far enough away from the coup) is now trying to favourably parse an Angus Reid poll, no less, as, if he could, the 'victory' would be pyrric, at best, since the end result is that the Fiberals themselves have caused a dozen point lead over a feckless opposition to almost completely evaporate.

Congratulations all round.

NRF said...

I believe Campbell's decision to stay or go depends upon the Supreme Court Basi/Virk case before Justice Bennett. If the full story remains covered, Gordon will return. If the dirtiest secrets are exposed, he is gone. There are dots to be connected between very early associates of Mayor Campbell, the Howe Sound land bank previously owned by the public through BC Rail, the BCR privatization and the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project. Hundreds of millions will be earned by favored parties over the next decade.

North Van's Grumps said...

Last page summarizes how politicians should behave if found in the company of ".........Brown's Canaccord Capital mentor.

Once upon a time (Feb. 5th, 2007), H. D. Oliver stated the correct methods that politicians should apply to themselves/immediate family, and their high flying lifestyles, to prevent a "reasonalby well informed person" from seeing a conflict of interest which is totally unwarranted.

I wonder if it was before the Premier and his wife Nancy took flight to Beijing on a private jet in the company of Jack Poole and Mr. Brown, that his Deputy Minister Jessica MacDonald informed him of a possible conflict, or did the executivee assistant abide by the signed "Premier X" instructions as presented to the Conflict Commissioner.