By Bill Tieleman
It is better to be quotable than to be honest.
- Tom Stoppard, playwright
In 2009, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell was very, very quotable.
But was he honest? You be the judge with our Campbell’s quotes quiz of 2009.
"This is the single biggest thing we can do to improve B.C.'s economy."
- Premier Gordon Campbell, July 23, 2009
Was Campbell talking about his plans to:
A) Resign immediately as premier;
B) finally increase Canada’s lowest minimum wage;
C) end the province’s status as having the worst child poverty rate in the country for six straight years;
D) introduce a new Harmonized Sales Tax that will add a 7% tax onto many goods and services not previously taxed?
The unfortunate and unpopular answer is D, bring in an HST on July 1, 2010.
"We may not have quite as much contingency but, I can tell you this: the deficit for 2009/10 will be $495 million."
- Premier Gordon Campbell, April 23, 2009
The actual deficit, revealed after the May election, was $2.8 billion.
The reason Campbell claims he didn’t know there was a big problem before the election was because:
A) He was “consumed” with plans to help fight the H1N1 outbreak;
B) “Our staff had said to me that this is manageable,” referring to rapidly dropping revenue;
C) his staff didn’t tell him everything: “There is very restrictive interaction between the senior public service and anybody that's running for office.”
D) all of the above?
The contradictory answer is D.
Campbell, under questioning in the Legislature by New Democrat leader Carole James, added that he was never worried anyway because under his leadership in the past B.C. had always “performed beyond expectations.” Whew – we can all breathe easier now!
“To try and clarify this matter, this was an answer that was provided by our party during the election. It did reflect the position of the government at the time.”
- Premier Gordon Campbell, November 25, 2009
Was the answer Campbell referring to:
A) B.C. Liberal Party plans to call for a full public inquiry into the B.C. Legislature Raid case if the trial fails to take place;
B) Party opposition to the rising cost of the 2010 Olympics;
C) the B.C. Liberals’ intention to declare Campbell “Premier For Life”;
D) a pledge to the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association that B.C. Liberals would not introduce a Harmonized Sales Tax if re-elected.
The answer, of course, is D. The CRFA estimates that the HST scheduled to start July 1 could cost its members $750 million in losses - $50,000 per restaurant – causing staff layoffs and closures.
“British Columbia has an important role to play in Copenhagen, both in supporting development of a global plan and in sharing our climate action measures with other governments.”
- Premier Gordon Campbell, December 7, 2009
Was Campbell referring to B.C.:
A) Being the only province Statistics Canada says has increasing greenhouse-gas emissions from industrial polluters, especially the oil and gas industry;
B) His continuing plans to push for offshore oil and gas exploration;
C) his opposition to a natural gas flaring tax;
D) none of the above.
The answer is D – but that didn’t stop some environmental groups from giving Campbell a "climate action leadership" award for his carbon tax on gas and fuel!
And so ends our quiz – if you gave Campbell a bunch of Ds, you’ve got him all figured out.