Gordon Campbell fired outspoken Energy Minister Bill Bennett out of his cabinet this morning after Bennett told the media that Campbell should leave office and allow a caretaker premier to run the show.
The direct and insubordinate challenge to Campbell was the premier's only option, especially after Bennett had already publicly criticized Campbell's cabinet shuffle and reorganization of natural resources ministries just a few weeks ago.
Finance Minister Colin Hansen said today that the decision was made by the entire cabinet rather than Campbell - a possible first - and Bennett agreed.
"The cabinet has to operate as a team. It was obvious that Bill Bennett was not prepared to work as a member of that team and so cabinet as a whole made a decision that they would ask him to leave cabinet and he agreed," Hansen said.
Is it all part of Bennett's cagey plan to position himself as the "plain talking outsider with common sense" for a BC Liberal leadership run?
Or has Bennett once again shot his mouth off before thinking? This is, after all, the minister to flamed out in an ill-considered email to a constituent in 2007 that caused Campbell to toss him from cabinet for a period of time.
Mostly it shows the extremely bad feelings abounding in the BC Liberal caucus over Campbell's long goodbye that will now last until at least the end of February.
Unless, that is, Campbell is pushed out in a caucus coup before he causes even more damage to a party limping along at 26% support in the polls paying attention to a premier with only a 12% approval rating.
Bennett addresses the media in Victoria this afternoon - stay tuned to this space for more.