Premier Gordon Campbell’s future is as bright as Monty Python’s dead parrot – who will take over?
Bill Tieleman’s 24 hours/The Tyee column
Tuesday May 18, 2010
By Bill Tieleman
That parrot is no more. He has ceased to be. He’s expired and gone to meet his maker. He’s a stiff, bereft of life, he rests in peace....This is an ex-parrot!
- Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Premier Gordon Campbell is as politically dead as Monty Python’s famous parrot. His political future is no more. This is almost an ex-premier!
Campbell told both Global and CTV news last week that: “2013 is a long way away and I am 62 years old now.” In other words, pass the gold watch.
What ended Campbell’s electoral career?
The Harmonized Sales Tax with a 7% hit on consumers about to lift $2 billion a year from their pockets, a fudged budget with a deficit six times larger than promised, the revelations to come from the B.C. Legislature Raid case, the Keystone Kops routine with Solicitor General Kash Heed and allegations of dirty, illegal tricks in the provincial election?
But more importantly - who will lead the beleaguered B.C. Liberal Party? Here’s a short handicapper’s guide to see who will win a leadership race for what could be a very short premiership, with points for and against their odds.
Carole Taylor – The Gucci Government Girl.
For: Media and older businessmen drool uncontrollably when the long-time federal Liberal government appointee – CBC chair, Vancouver Port Corporation, etc – even looks their way. As BC Finance Minister achieved four years of labour agreement peace thanks to $1 billion in bonuses for union members. Opposed the HST before and after quitting B.C. Liberal government.
Against: The multi-millionaire who wore $600 a pair Guccis to introduce a budget is actually older than Gordon Campbell and will be 68 in the 2013 election year. Red meat conservative B.C. Liberals would rather fall on their swords than follow Taylor. She has no base in the party outside Shaughnessy and British Properties.
Rich Coleman – Mr. Fix-It.
For: Despite his tough guy, unphotogenic persona, Coleman actually gets things done. Proved he could work with ex-NDP MLA Gregor Robertson as Vancouver mayor, bought up Single Room Occupancy buildings in the downtown eastside and cleaned them up. Has a strong Surrey-Fraser Valley base that’s critical in one member-one vote leadership campaign.
Against: Do B.C. voters want Darth Vader running the province?
Kevin Falcon – Mr. Abrasive.
For: The energetic, totally partisan politician appeals to the conservative wing of the party.
Against: B.C.’s health minister would scare away more critical centrist voters than Sarah Palin while mobilizing the left and greens like no one else.
David Emerson – Trusty Turncoat.
For: Has federal cabinet experience – in both the Liberal and Conservative governments! Forestry business background followed years as top B.C. bureaucrat.
Against: So antagonized his Vancouver-Kingsway constituents who voted Emerson in as Liberal but saw him jump to Tories for cabinet job that rest of province can’t believe him. Big business backer who loves the HST.
Dianne Watts – Mayor McCheese.
For: Watts has neutralized opposition both right and left as Surrey’s mayor, presenting a potentially appealing moderate, non-traditional politician.
Against: Can Watts turn B.C.’s vicious political culture into Pleasantville? Can a complete outsider with no electoral experience at the provincial or federal level run B.C.? And can she get both Coleman and Falcon to support her rather than running?
George Abbott – the affable B.C. Liberal cabinet minister was the face of health care problems for years. Use only in case of emergency.
Colin Hansen – the Finance Minister who gave us the HST and a deficit that jumped from $495 before the election to $2.8 billion afterwards? Flat busted.
So place your bets – but remember – know your limit, play within it.