Is Campbell going for a largest deficit personal best on February 17? Could well be.
I don't argue for a minute against the need for BC to go into deficit - my complaint is that Campbell and the BC Liberals made balanced budgets into the political equivalent of the Rosetta Stone in a rigid ideological position that lacks historical perspective, economic understanding and just plain common sense.
By the way, Stephen Harper, come on down! You also win a prize!
The second thing that bugs the hell out of me is the endless parade of business leaders who are shameless in their political pimping for Campbell and the BC Liberals - business leaders who would be screaming blue bloody murder if a New Democrat government in exactly the same position did exactly what Campbell is doing.
From the Vancouver Board of Trade's debt clock and endless pontificating about the horrors of deficit financing we now have come to this.
"So what? It's a sensible response," Vancouver Board of Trade managing director Darcy Rezac said. "To suggest that the Government balance its budget at all costs in very unusual circumstances wouldn't be wise in our view. So I think the Government is doing a sensible thing."
Here's what Rezac said on November 22, 2000, when the NDP government was running a surplus - yes, my friends - a surplus of $1 billion:
"We note that the rapid rise in the provincial debt is worrisome. Debts incurred by funding general operating costs of government, which has happened during the '90s, ought to be avoided at all costs," Rezac said.
And what did Darcy say on September 23, 2002, when the BC Liberals ran the province's largest-ever deficit of $4 billion?
"We're impressed with the government's resolve to attain the goal of a balanced budget by 2004-05, and we support that...We congratulate the government of B.C. for moving quickly to take the measures they did with the 2002-03 budget," Rezac told reporters then.
Wow! So what indeed!
At least Gordon Campbell show some understanding that he has dramatically changed his tune.
"I know what I have said and I'm sure you've all got the clips," Campbell told reporters yesterday.
But for a lot of business leaders, the song remains the same - it's just who calls the tune that really matters!