Thursday, May 14, 2009

BC Liberal election win sweet for Gordon Campbell, but signals bitter fights to come

Liberals win battle, need to brace for war

By BILL TIELEMAN, 24 HOURS

May 13, 2009

Last night’s win by the B.C. Liberals is a sweet personal victory for Premier Gordon Campbell – but it sets the stage for several coming bitter battles.

First and foremost, B.C.’s projected budget deficit of just $495 million this year in a time of economic crisis simply cannot be believed.

Instead, expect Finance Minister Colin Hansen to report that – surprise – things are much worse than he imagined in February, forcing severe cost cutting in public services and a larger deficit.

That news will end a relative truce with B.C.’s public sector unions and the overall labour movement, likely signalling a return to the major protests that marked the beginning of Campbell’s first rocky term in 2001.

The public sector’s strategy of signing long-term contracts that don’t expire until after the 2010 Olympics was the right move but the closing ceremony of the Games will mark the opening of a far more desperate contest between labour and the B.C. Liberal government.

Second, the B.C. Liberal Party instinctively knows that this is almost surely Gordon Campbell’s final term in office, triggering internal competition for his successor prior to the 2013 provincial election.

Will Colin Hansen – a liberal urban Liberal – have an easy ride to leadership or will suburban and rural conservative Liberals rebel, demanding a strong move to the right and out of Vancouver?

Third, the New Democratic Party will grapple with the question of whether to pursue leadership change in the wake of leader Carole James’ second spirited but unsuccessful attempt to dethrone Campbell.

Fourth and most dangerous for Campbell, will the B.C. Legislature Raid trial happen and start a dance of deadly skeletons in his closet? Co-accused former B.C. Liberal aides David Basi and Bob Virk have lots to say.

Count on one thing – B.C. politics won’t be boring.

.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Politically incorrect as it may sound, I find it difficult not to draw the following conclusion. Regardless of what level of government they run for, what part of Canada they run in, or what political ideology they represent, political parties that go into an election with a woman leader inevitably get SPANKED at the polls!

Anonymous said...

It already is boring. Half the population are too bored to even vote.

Anonymous said...

The Campbell Regime's 3rd win is a democratically cynical devine-right-mandate to have a feudal state of privledge in BC under . . . King Gordon the First.

What currently constitutes BC's legal & loyal opposition, an ineffective NDP, accomplishes little but the added consumption of already limited tax dollars.

The so-called-other-parties are so unstable as to make the two mainstream corrupt and incompetent parties look valid.

What today constitutes the only BC opposition, that being "the media," has been so compromised in the last eight years by its country-club relationship with the Campbell Court that it now acts as a propaganda arm for the BC Liberal Party.

England of the 1640s faced more intense but a similar state of corruption, systemic incompetence and overall anarchy that was falsely legitized by a patronage based judicial system under its supposedly "legal" ruler, Charles the First.

The question now has to be asked: When does a corrupt and malignant "legal" regime lose its right to govern?

The GREAT SATAN

DPL said...

For the present Saint Gordo can do what he wants with the province. A lot of folks have blinders and vote for the clown. His big focus is the upcoming 2010 circus with him on the stage. Shortly after he will decide to leave so he can spend more time with his family. But maybe with his enlarged ego he might sell the whole province before leaving. Isn't BC politics just grand. One party trying to help the old, poor, disabled, child poverty,unemployed and a host of other conditions ends up losing while the get rich group simply tunes out those other citizens as expendable. But at least my MLA put the Green leader down into third place.

Jes Gőlbez said...

Bill,

1. There is always the wearing off of the 'new car smell' with every elected gov't. We've already seen the dark side of the BC Liberals, so it's not like it'll be a surprise when we start seeing massive service cuts, shenanigans of all sorts, etc ... even the NDP wouldn't have been able to keep half of their promises.

2. I am constantly amazed at how much crap BCers will take from Gordo and his cronies. What is it going to take for people to realize this guy is harming the province? Killing kittens on live TV? Gordo seems to be able to get away with anything short of murder.

3. That said, the NDP did not give many middle-of-the-road voters a good enough reason to vote for them over the BCL. Actual quotes from friends and co-workers

"I know Campbell is a jerk, but the NDP will ruin the economy!""I don't like Gordo, but the NDP hasn't proven to me that they are worthy of my vote"IT's not enough to say Gordo is a jerk ... everyone knows it ... the NDP has to give people a reason to vote for them. Not enough positive ads from the NDP building on their detailed platform.

4. There needs to be a change at the top in the NDP, especially James. The waffling and flip-flopping on MLA salaries, Port Mann, ALR, etc ... made the NDP look very bad and makes people wonder what the party actually stands for. Weak leadership is hurting the NDP. Say what you want about Gordo, but the man knows how to lead/dictate.

5. One NDP guy (forget the name) was right that the CanWest empire is screwing the dippers. The NDP gets such unfavourable coverage that it is doubly hard to get the good message out. Hopefully CanWest goes completely bankrupt and we can get a bit more balance in our local media. Don't hold your breath, though. It says something that you are doing 1000x the work on the Basi-Kirk stuff than all of CanWest combined.

Anonymous said...

im am simply stunned at the low voter turnout out, shameful folks , it was difficult for me not to show my dissapointment in folks i work with who didnt bother to vote, but what was worse was why they voted for the liberals, im amazed at the stark ignorance that people showed over any issues such as the trial in victoria, fish farms, the paramedics, the tree farm giveaways...i was stunned at how many people didnt know what ipp stands for! never mind the hundred mile diet , how about the 50 mile mentality
... 4 more years of the most corrupt government in bc or canada there wont be anything left to govern after this.
thanks bill for your great blog sure kept me informed for my choices during the election

Rod Smelser said...

BC politics won't be boring? Apparently, that's not the judgement of the voters.

In Tuesday's BC provincial election, 1.55 million Canadians cast ballots.

Compare that to the 1.8 million who cast ballots in the October 14th Federal Election in BC electoral districts.

A quarter of a million fewer Canadians could be bothered to vote provincially compared to the number prepared to vacate the couch for 30 minutes for a federal election.

This is a fundamental fact that provincial political pundits and so-called "strategists" need to start taking into account. At the rate things are going, by 2013 provincial turnout will be equal to municipal turnout.

David St. Hubbins said...

I think much of this epic battle stuff is wishful thinking on the part of Liberal opponents. The strategy of demonizing Gordon Campbell and predictions of final confrontations just don't wash anymore, at least with the general public, and this election campaign proved that.

The Liberals have become masters at diffusing potential trouble over the years, and I don't expect this to change. The onus of the NDP's success will be squarely on the NDP - they can no longer hinge their hopes of success on Liberal failure. New Democrats need to inject a new leader with new ideas into a stale party. I had heard Fleming's name bandied about of late. What a wonderful statement of youthful change this would send to non-Liberals looking for a political home.

Another thing the Campbell Liberals have slowly, but surely mastered: public relations and communications. Whatever your ideological persuasion, there's no denying that the Liberal communications strategy has left the NDP floundering, reacting and searching for purpose. The NDP need to dust off their Bernays and Grunig texts and take a hard look at revising the way they communicate their message, especially from the opposition benches.

Rod Smelser said...

David St. Hubbins said... I think much of this epic battle stuff is wishful thinking on the part of Liberal opponents. The strategy of demonizing Gordon Campbell and predictions of final confrontations just don't wash anymore, at least with the general public, I agree. The Final Countdown to Armageddon is not a fully credible argument. That said, it may gain some life if Campbell and Hanson's real budget in July is a reprise of the Bennett-Curtis Restraint Budget of July 1983.

And the NDP found out in last Fall's federal election that doing the "scarey Harper" thingy wasn't useful for them either. The Federal Liberal Party (Fry, Dosanjh, etc.) can still get some juice out of that one, but for the NDP it's rubbish.

The NDP strategists who ran last fall's unsuccessful Federal NDP campaign in BC, and this Spring's unsuccessful provincial campaign, need to reflect seriously on the voter turnout figures. Their pitch "Take back your BC", with its echos of nostalgia and nativism may not have resonated as well as they would have liked with new Canadians or younger people.

Jeff Barkley said...

I think some people are giving Gordon Campbell and the Liberals too much credit for winning the election. Every newspaper, tv station and radio station that is part of CanWest or Corus was completely one sided. Gone are the days when a column that was written in a newspaper that was untrue, would end with the newspaper loosing their license to print. Today it is the corporate agenda that is furthered by the mainstream media and what they have to say does not have to be true in any way shape or form. There are no longer any regulatory bodies that act as watchdogs for democracy. The Social Credit "dirty tricks affair" would not and does not happen today, regardless of how obvious the issue is.

It is bad enough to not have any press, but to have a mainstream media that simply does not print or talk about ANY BC Liberal scandal while maintaining a monopoly, is nearly unstoppable.

Oh well, its not much, but I guess we can reserve the right to say "I told you so" alot in the next few years. Its too bad the things Campbell is doing are irreversable...

Anonymous said...

Again, that wasn't an election; it was a Canwest-Nuremberg Rally. Smyth-Mulgrew-Neal-Palmer all voted Lib. I know that because they led the chorus against so-called "attack advertising." And it worked. Oppal is in trouble, but not because people understood the depthless depravity of his justice administration. Who paid for the Cambie Street mess? The Libs picked up a seat from voters who have crawled through traffic for 3 years.

What "bitter fights" does Convict-Campbell face? On which issue was he pressed? On which issue was his positioned weakened? None!

Shall we hasten Canwest's demise? They have received 2 deferals on principal payment on their $4,000,000,000 debt. Ad revenues have been reduced up to 40%. The Times-Colonist has reduced publishing days. Canwest copy is starting to look like resume attachments for the Public Affairs Bureau. I would rather have a 1 paper city - supplemented by the Free papers - where objectivity and impartiality are valued, than elite-centrist manipulation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:45 -
"Who paid for the Cambie Street mess? The Libs picked up a seat from voters who have crawled through traffic for 3 years.

What "bitter fights" does Convict-Campbell face? On which issue was he pressed? On which issue was his positioned weakened? None!"

About 20% of the people of BC put this smug thug back in office.

The masses shot the messenger, and drank the Kool-Aid. Just like the bullied Cambie community, people desperately wanted to believe the spin, because the consequences of hearing the truth would be too much to take. And - they also just might have to DO SOMETHING.

Twitter away the day, and see ya on Facebook.

And for Gord's sake - keep believing everything you read and hear and see in the mainstream media. Sing along to the Olympic jingles.

And feel FREE - yes - enjoy your freedom to speak your mind, even though you didn't even bother to care about the issues or even vote.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the Green Party the NDP lost in 19 ridings, if Green voters had cast their fortune withe NDP. In all these ridings the NDP came but a few hundred votes from winning.

Anonymous said...

I think it was the poor marketing strategy, not Carole James, which caused the Campbell business party to win.

Anonymous said...

The two Normans on Vaugh Palmer's show tonight said it best about Carole James:

"There was no support for the Leader of the Opposition from within her own party."

In the television debate Gordon Campbell, where Ms. James came away the clear winner and a lot more of the women's votes, said the "Premier's job is a big job"; the NDP membership as much as agreed with Campbell by not showing the support she needed as a viable alternative to Gordon Campbell.

Anonymous said...

Bill, if we can expect more of the same, we won't hear much about all those bitter fights to come. They will be buried in the back pages, and not mentioned on the corporate shill station.

Why did we even have an election?

dmc said...

Come on Bill,
Campbell didn't need to brace for war last time around.I'm very bitter over how much injustice goes on right in front of our faces, and still, the truth can't come out!
Simply because there isn't enough good guys in law enforcement and government to take down the bad ones...

dave w said...

The fact is the majority of the people who bothered to vote didn't chose this government.

Military metaphors create the illusion of opposition (read Chudnovsky's comments about the legislature).

But there isn't. Those who fund the Liberals run the government. Any one with a cortex genuinely paying attention knows this.

"War", "Deadly" helps sell corporate media and create"lively" corporate radio--work for the pundits-- but it's a diversion that helps sell the illusion.

If there has to be a "War" with "skeletons", it should be against a system that allows illegitimate government.

But that's risky and messy and might affect property values and retirement returns.

David St. Hubbins said...

The post-game reaction is tiresomely predictable, but I can understand the human need for a scapegoat in the wake of failure.

While I, for one, share the Chomsky propaganda model hypothesis that big, corporate-owned media (in this case Canwest Global) have way too much power in the political process, I'm not prepared to lay all blame at that doorstep for what has been a very dismal NDP decade. I hear John Horgan is really harping on this issue in the post-election analysis. The same theory should have prevented Barack Obama from winning power down south, but what did Obama do? He brilliantly seized the new social media to rally Facebook Generation. Did you notice who did the same in this BC campaign? That's right, Campbell's own son, Geoff, headed up the Liberal "digital campaign". Did Carole James even consider such a strategy, especially in the face of an NDP-unfriendly corporate press? No, it appears not.

Predictable scapegoat #2 - the lowly Green Party, accused of stealing NDP votes. This argument has always been based on the premise that Green voters are natural allies of old-school social democrats. It's a faulty premise, and the NDP needs to stop appealing to it because those grapes have long since gone sour and have no hope of turning into wine. The Green support over the decade has consistently polled at between 8% and 15%. This is somewhat incredible when you consider that those who consistently vote this way know plain well that under a FPTP system, their vote means squat. We need to view this as a relevant protest against this electoral system AND a deep dissatisfaction with the two traditional parties that system has spawned and nurtured over the decades, rather than viewing is as vote splitting. Above that, if there is common ground, and I believe there is some, the NDP needs to bridge that divide someway during an election time, no matter how painful such a compromise may be. How about a deal like Dion made in the fed election? NDP leader agrees not to run in Jane Sterk's riding, in exchange a for leaving close NDP seats Green-free? The options are countless, and the NDP hasn't attempted any of them.

Either way, the lame scapegoating has to stop. The NDP needs to take responsibility for its own failure and seek creative solutions to that repeated failure, even if the media odds are stacked against them. I haven't seen a creative idea emerge from the BC NDP since the Regina Manifesto.

Kam Lee said...

Just a thought for the lefties and righties out there. If gordo is charged and convicted of interference in the BC Rail fiasco, can he still run the province from behind bars?

DPL said...

It wont be the first time some politician would try to run things from jail. While we were in Quebec the local mayor couldn't campaign as he was in the slammer. He won the election. I don't figure , the laws what they are today that even Gordo would try that. I won't hold my breath waiting to see him in court on the BC rail event. Would be nice to see that case move along a bit faster, but the courts run the cases, not folks writing into assorted blogs

Anonymous said...

Any lawyers want to comment?

Judge Bennet has been annointed to the BC Court of Appeals by the feds - will the parties agree to carry on? Do they have a choice?

"Justice Elizabeth Bennett was overseeing the case in B.C. Supreme Court, but she has been appointed to the provincial Court of Appeal, and a new judge will take over the BC Rail trial.

Special prosecutor Bill Berardino said Bennett sent out a memo assuring all sides the change won't cause more delays in a case that began with a high-profile police raid of the provincial legislature in December 2003.

"The trial judge's memorandum confirms, in my view, that her appointment to the Court of Appeal will not affect the timing of the case," Berardino said in an interview."

link [CP / google]

BC Mary said...

.


Quoted from David St Hubbins:
Another thing the Campbell Liberals have slowly, but surely mastered: public relations and communications. Whatever your ideological persuasion, there's no denying that the Liberal communications strategy has left the NDP floundering, reacting and searching for purpose.Gordo's Liberals have mastered it all right. Wow. They've got 223 fulltime staffers in the basement of the Legislature. They've got the best media-monitoring equipment, operating 24/7 on a budget of $31 million a year of taxpayers' money.

All of them working to spread the word about the Golden Era.

Oh yes. The BC Liberals mastered the communications strategy at every level of B.C.'s society.

I'm just not sure it's legal, in a democratic society. Are you?

.

WebGogs said...

We could all vote independent, or citizens could choose not to vote at all. They need a quorum of 50%, if they don't get that quorum, there is no government. Then we the people can take over, wouldn't we all have fun. We could put Campbell on rations, we could tell him, there is a recession, therefore you may only have welfare funds, you may have to sell your home use up all your savings and do without as many BC residents who have families has had to do. I think that is fair. I wonder if he would think that was fair.