BC Finance Minister Kevin Falcon reaches the end of the line with little to show for term in Christy Clark government except extending period with hated Harmonized Sales Tax
|Getting off at next station: first Gordon Campbell and now Kevin Falcon.|
UPDATE#2: I will be talking to CBC TV News Network host Reshmi Nair NOW at 12:40 pm BC time on Kevin Falcon, George Abbott resignations.
UPDATE #1: BC Liberal Education Minister George Abbott, Children and Family Development Minister Mary McNeill and MLA John Les, Parliamentary Secretary to Premier Christy Clark, are all expected to announce Thursday morning they will not run again in the next provincial election.
Abbott will be the second BC Liberal leadership candidate in 24 hours to quit Clark's government, following Finance Minister Kevin Falcon's resignation Wednesday. More to come......
ORIGINAL POSTING WEDNESDAY:
After losing the BC Liberal leadership to Christy Clark, Kevin Falcon could say: "I used to be the next Premier of British Columbia!" to rephrase Al Gore's funniest line.
But now Falcon is gone even as finance minister and whether he will ever get another chance to be premier is very dubious at best.
After all, BC Liberals declined to give him the job last year because he was seen as less electable than Clark and carrying too much baggage from his former boss Gordon Campbell.
Some think Falcon is using the same strategy successfully employed by Jean Chretien, John Turner, Bill Vander Zalm and many other politicians who left the electoral arena for a few years only to come back as leaders of their parties.
Maybe so - and I do give Falcon's stated reason for leaving - to support his wife as she gives birth to their second child - considerable weight.
On the other hand, Falcon repeatedly goaded Clark during the leadership over her refusal to run for the BC Liberals in the next election if she lost that contest - saying he'd be running either way.
Now he's not. Falcon is allowed to change his mind and particularly when circumstances change significantly. But I have to think that just like Christy Clark when she lost the NPA nomination for Vancouver mayor in 2005, Kevin Falcon's ambition has not altered either - he still wants to be premier.
Unfortunately for the now simply MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale, his record in office under Clark is rather bereft of good news.
Falcon will best be known for continuing the lengthy period that British Columbians were charged the Harmonized Sales Tax despite soundly rejecting it in the 2011 binding referendum.
Falcon's steadfast defence of the indefensible tax and chippy comments after the referendum that he would be reintroducing a "stupid tax" - the PST - to replace it, isn't a legacy to bring up with voters in a few years and expect glowing memories.
Nor is BC's huge $1.84 billion deficit something to be proud of as finance minister. Yes, repayment of the HST federal grant is part of that amount but it was the BC Liberals that panicked in 2009 when they saw a deficit 6 times bigger than they promised and then introduced the HST to get that money in the first place.
The other rumour is that Falcon will run for the federal Conservatives in the 2015 federal election somewhere in Surrey. A credible theory at least.
But in the meantime, regardless of his record or my politics, I do wish Kevin and his family well in the future. Agree or disagree with his policies but everyone who gives time to public service deserves our thanks.