Thursday, December 28, 2006

Year of Guccis and Guinness in B.C. - year end round up column in 24 hours newspaper

Year of Guccis and Guinness in B.C.


Last year we said, "Things can't go on like this," and they didn't; they got worse.

- Will Rogers

Here's what kind of a year in politics 2006 has been: No one wanted to be caught dead in federal Conservative International Trade Minister David Emerson's shoes - except maybe B.C. Liberal Finance Minister Carole Taylor.

That's because while Emerson entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest political defection ever, Taylor caught heat for introducing the provincial budget in a $600 pair of Gucci pumps.

But one thing is clear - they both stepped in it!

After January's minority Conservative election victory, Liberal Vancouver-Kingsway Member of Parliament Emerson took all of 48 hours to become a card-carrying Tory.

And Emerson, who swore to voters he would be Stephen Harper's "worst nightmare," instead sucker punched his constituents and joined the Conservative cabinet. De-elect Emerson signs will last longer than Rona "Clean Air Act" Ambrose will as environment minister.

Meanwhile, in February Taylor took the tradition of finance ministers wearing a new pair of shoes on budget day to unheard-of extremes. The $600-Guccis, plus $84 in tax, cost far more than a month's worth of social assistance for the poor. Marie Antoinette, eat your heart out!

If such political cynicism makes you sick, go to a medical clinic - a private one. 2006 was year of the for-profit physician, with controversial private healthcare booster Dr. Brian Day becoming the president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association and B.C. doctors Mark Godley and Don Copeman opening new private facilities.

Day, who actually said before his election that Medicare was a "health monopoly that Bozo the Clown could run" and that a "Berlin Wall" stops patients from getting medical treatment, will become the voice of all Canadian doctors.

Now let's remove that lump from the area around your wallet!

Day has the ear of B.C. Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell, who made him the very first speaker at the government's "Conversation on Health" - an invitation-only consultation on Medicare.

From conversations to conversions on the road to Damascus - that's what happened to Campbell on First Nations. In opposition, Campbell actually tried to stop the Nisga'a Treaty with a lawsuit and then held a divisive and insulting referendum on native rights in 2002.

But now Campbell is aboriginal people's best friend, fighting Harper for money and signing treaties himself.

Lastly, Dec. 28 marks the third anniversary of the police raid on the B.C. Legislature.
While former B.C. Liberal ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk still await trial, Erik Bornman, who is alleged to have bribed them, is now trying to become a lawyer.

Whoever said the wheels of justice turn slowly must have come from B.C.

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