|Ex-Premier Gordon Campbell's likely reaction to receiving Order of BC on Friday|
When ex-Premier Gordon Campbell can receive the Order of BC the same year he leaves office and while he is serving as the federal government's highly-paid High Commissioner to London, it's obvious that something is very wrong.
The premier who misled British Columbia voters before the last 2009 election about the Harmonized Sales Tax and the size of BC's giant deficit. The premier who presided over seven straight years of the worst child poverty rates in Canada. The most unpopular premier in Canada when he quit. The only premier ever jailed in a foreign country. I could go further but won't.
And guess who else gets honoured the same day - Campbell's own former Deputy Minister Ken Dobell.
The Ken Dobell who pled guilty to being an unregistered provincial government lobbyist. And who was at the centre of some BC Rail/BC Legislature Raid issues - allegations raised by the defence in pre-trial hearings of David Basi and Bob Virk. And who admitted he regularly deleted his emails as DM to avoid them being disclosed by Freedom Of Information requests.
And Campbell's longtime ally and also a former Deputy Minister David Emerson.
The David Emerson who switched parties from federal Liberal to federal Conservative hours after the election in order to stay in cabinet - this time under Stephen Harper. Vancouver-Kingsway voter were furious - and rightly so, given how much Emerson denounced Harper and the Conservatives during that election.
And who is on the Order of BC Selection Committee? Among others:
BC Liberal MLA and Speaker of the Legislature Bill Barisoff.
Former Vancouver 2010 Olympics CEO John Furlong.
Barisoff is one of Campbell's political colleagues, while Furlong was Campbell's choice to run the Olympic Games. Furlong also was appointed by the province to conduct a review of the Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup riot.
Other members include: Chief Justice Lance Finch (chairperson), Union of B.C. Municipalities president and Surrey councillor Barbara Steele, Research Universities' Council of B.C. president Robin Ciceri, the associate deputy minister of the intergovernmental relations secretariat Pierrette Maranda and Vancouver Island University president Ralph Nilson. Unfortunately, the many worthy appointments to the Order of BC this year and in past years are tarnished by the undue haste and obvious political nature of giving Campbell, Dobell and Emerson this honour.
Let's be clear - politicians and senior public officials have every right to be honoured for their service - but not all are.
For example, Campbell gets the Order of BC but the only other former premier so recognized is former Social Credit Premier Bill Bennett - but not Dave Barrett or Mike Harcourt or Bill Vander Zalm or Glen Clark or Dan Miller or Rita Johnston or Ujjal Dosanjh. Check the full list here.
I'll have more to say about this and related issues that show BC is out of Order in other ways too in my 24 Hours Vancouver and The Tyee online column on Tuesday - which will also be here of course.
Meanwhile, here is the full list of recipients:
Gordon Campbell, of London, England, High Commissioner & ex premier of BC.
Luigi Aquilini ,of Vancouver, owner of the Vancouver Canucks.
Peter Norman Baird, of Vancouver, public servant.
Ken Dobell, of Vancouver, public servant.
David Emerson, of Vancouver, businessman and former federal cabinet minister.
Yuri Fulmer, of West Vancouver, entrepreneur and volunteer.
Tim Jones, of North Vancouver, search and rescue leader.
Dr. Phil Muir of Hazelton, long-time northern doctor and innovator.
J.C. O'Rourke, of West Vancouver, businessman.
Karen O'Shannacery, of Vancouver, advocate for homeless people.
Baljit Sethi, of Prince George, advocate for immigrants.
Ellen White, of Nanaimo, native educator and activist.
The investiture ceremony will be held at Government House in Victoria on Oct. 4.