|Ida Chong and Gordon Campbell - judgement day delayed but not denied|
Just look at the amazing results.
First - can you imagine how little would have been said in the media about the Harmonized Sales Tax if there had been no recall campaign launched before Christmas?
Do you think that every single one of the BC Liberal leadership candidates would have agreed to move up the date of the HST referendum to at least June instead of September?
Or accepted outgoing Premier Gordon Campbell's pledge that the referendum would be binding and would only require 50% plus one of those voting across the province?
All those conditions being completely different than the non-binding, super-majority rules of the Recall and Initiative Act.
Do you think the BC Liberal caucus would have been nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof without the threat of Recall?
What's more, almost 9,000 individual voters signed a petition calling for cabinet minister Ida Chong to be removed from office because she voted for the HST in the BC Legislature and still supports it today.
Do you think Ida Chong stands much chance of being re-elected after that in the next provincial ballot?
And why do you think current politicians like BC Liberal cabinet minsiter Kevin Krueger and former politicians of every party stripe - from ex-NDP Premier Dan Miller to ex-Social Credit Attorney-General Brian Smith are calling for Recall to be repealed?
The elites have been rocked by Initiative and by Recall - and they don't like it.
It's tough to have made such a valiant effort and come short, to be sure.
But the naysayers in the media who now crow "I told you so" were all to a person dead wrong before when the claimed the Fight HST citizens Initiative would not succeed.
They were wrong when they said former Premier Bill Vander Zalm could never gain the support of voters for the anti-HST campaign.
They were wrong, Gordon Campbell was wrong, the BC Liberals were wrong and political history was made as a result of ordinary people not giving up even when they were told again and again they were wasting their time.
Those who never try never fail.
But those who try are the only ones who will ever succeed - because they have the courage of their convictions.
Will Recall now be successful in Comox or Kamloops?
That's up to the voters there and the exercise of democracy.
But one thing is clear - this province will never be the same because of the 705,643 voters who signed the Fight HST citizens Initiative.
The HST will surely be defeated whenever the referendum is held.
The people will have spoken and after that, the BC Liberal government that imposed this terrible, unfair tax will be called to account.
Voters are waiting.
I should have reiterated a point made by former NDP cabinet minister Paul Ramsey that I quoted in an earlier column:
Ramsey was the subject of a bitter recall campaign in 1998 that failed and he currently opposes recall.
Ramsey wrote in 2003: "There's much to be said against the current recall campaigns in British Columbia. They clearly abuse the intent of the recall legislation. They create bitter divisions in communities. They distract M.L.A.'s and ministers from their real duties of office.
"But the campaigns have proven to be more effective at getting the government's attention than other forms of political protest," he continued. "One thing is clear: the recall campaigns have forced the government to pay far more attention to the local effects of provincial policies.
"Recall petitioners may not gather enough signatures to throw MLAs out of office, but they will affect government policy," he concluded.
And that's another big reason why the recall campaign was not a failure in Oak Bay-Gordon Head.