Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Premier Christy Clark faces backroom plots by powerbrokers to replace her....before it's too late

Kevin Falcon - his backers now Christy's "friends"
 Christy Clark's Slippery Footing
Christy Clark - with friends like these.....

BC Lib powerbrokers appear to be plotting against her after byelection losses.

Bill Tieleman’s 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday April 24, 2012

By Bill Tieleman

"If you want to make a coalition work you've got to be prepared to put everything on the table."

- former Conservative MP John Reynolds
When backroom BC Liberal Party and federal Conservative power broker John Reynolds meets behind closed doors with Premier Christy Clark this week, only one question will be on his mind:
"What will it take, Madam Premier, to get you to quit your job?"
Of course, Reynolds won't ask that question -- not directly anyway -- but the answer is driving BC Liberals to distraction after two disastrous byelections losses last week in Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope.
The two previous BC Liberal strongholds both went New Democrat, stunning Clark's party with the vehemence of anti-government voters.
The party line is that "vote splitting" of the "free enterprise coalition" is the problem but the reality is that Clark has alienated a majority of voters, not just in the two ridings but across the province.
Politics in B.C. is a brutal blood sport, with failure resulting in leadership changes.
And Clark didn't just forfeit two safe seats, she led her party to historic losses.
In Port Moody-Coquitlam, the NDP's Joe Trasolini cleaned up with 54 per cent of the vote -- a higher percentage than former BC Liberal MLA Iain Black took in the 2009 provincial election, in an area Clark herself used to represent.
Even worse, Gwen O'Mahoney's win in Chilliwack-Hope marks the first time the NDP has ever taken the riding -- or any of the small-c conservative Fraser-Valley seats.
And while O'Mahoney's 41 per cent victory over BC Liberal Laurie Throness at 31 per cent and BC Conservative John Martin's 25 per cent prompted Clark to complain about vote splitting, the results came after voters were subjected to months of expensive messaging telling them to ignore the upstart right-wing Conservative party.
Overall, about 70 per cent of voters rejected Clark's government in the two ridings.
That's what has both Reynolds and Philip Hochstein, head of the union-loathing Independent Contractors and Businesses Association -- and a huge BC Liberal donor that also sponsored tough anti-NDP ads -- very worried.
And while Reynolds is publicly backing Clark's leadership so far -- "you've got a good leader -- we don't need to fight over that issue," he told CKNW's Bill Good on Friday -- Hochstein doesn’t sound very sure.
"If there is no way to have unanimity, then we lose the election. How that comes about and who brings that together, I'm not sure who that is," Hochstein told The Globe and Mail's Justine Hunter after the double loss.
In an opinion piece in The Province newspaper, Hochstein exhorts British Columbians to support the "free enterprise" coalition without once mentioning Clark.
But he does say: "If it's about a name or label, then change it." Could the name to change be Clark's?
What will happen next isn't clear. Rumours continue about possible MLA defections from the BC Liberal caucus to the BC Conservatives, something Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen did last month, or to sit as independents until Clark steps down.
Meanwhile, in an interestingly ironic move, Reynolds is co-chairing Clark's major party fundraising dinner this June along with Ryan Beedie -- both of whom supported her rival, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon, for the leadership last year.
Conservative threat foretold
Beedie hired pollster Hamish Marshall to conduct public opinion research for Falcon -- the same Marshall who is now BC Conservative leader John Cummins provincial campaign director.
After reading those polls, Beedie sent out a three-alarm fire call to business supporters of Falcon, stating that: "Christy Clark is the candidate who poses the greatest risk to the coalition, and thus the future success of the party."
For his part, Reynolds put a last minute knife into Clark's ribs in the final days of the contest, telling the Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer that Clark, a lifetime federal Liberal, would break apart the B.C. coalition of federal Conservatives and Liberals. "I would prefer for the coalition to stick together but...," he said, predicting that her victory would spark a BC Conservative Party revival.
That's exactly what happened -- and now Reynolds and Beedie are trying to pull the party together under the leader they strongly opposed.
For Christy Clark, with good friends like these behind you, who needs enemies?


Friday, April 20, 2012

Worried about your retirement security? Concerned about the Conservatives making Old Age Security eligibility 67 years? Come to Libby Davies Pension Forum on Saturday

Our Pensions Are At Risk!

I am honoured to be speaking this Saturday April 21 at a forum on Pensions hosted by NDP Vancouver East MP Libby Davies.

Bill Tieleman 
The Pension Forum runs from 2:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. at the Hastings Community Centre, 3096 East Hastings, at Lillooet Street. 

I will be speaking along with Libby, former Vancouver city councillor Ellen Woodsworth, Larry Brown Secretary-General of National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), April Lewis, from CARP / A New Vision of Aging for Canada, and a representative from the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations (COSCO).

I especially encourage younger people to attend - because you are going to be the most negatively affected of all by the changes Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making to pensions!

Hope to see you there!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

BC Liberals lose 2 - Will night of BC by-elections be followed by night of long knives in BC Liberal Party?

BC Liberal by-election loses tonight will help determine future of provincial politics - and that of Premier Christy Clark
No photo ops tonight for Premier Christy Clark - she will
respond to by-election results by news release!
UPDATE 10:00 p.m.

The BC NDP have won both by-elections - with the BC Liberals placing second and the BC Conservatives in a close third place.

Congratulations to new MLAs Joe Trasolini in Port Moody-Coquitlam and Gwen O'Mahoney in Chilliwack-Hope - for taking both former BC Liberal strongholds away from the governing party.

Condolences to BC Liberal candidates Dennis Marsden and Laurie Throness - they both fought hard and there is great honour in losing when you do your best.  

Condolences also to John Martin and Christine Clarke of the BC Conservatives - they both put in very credible performances without the benefit of the BC NDP and BC Liberal financial and logistical advantages - a huge improvement over past Conservative efforts but not enough to win.

While the BC Liberals will predictably spin the "vote splitting" story, the reality is that under Premier Christy Clark, two formerly untouchable safe ridings have been lost to their arch enemy - including, almost unbelievably, Chilliwack-Hope.

Blaming the BC Conservatives for "stealing" their vote won't cut any ice with unhappy voters who abandoned the BC Liberals in droves - voting NDP or Conservative or simply staying home.

I predict so-called "merger" talks prompted by BC Liberal die-hards like Phil Hochstein won't go anywhere - certainly not with Clark staying on as leader.

BC politics remain the most interesting in the country!


Tonight's two provincial by-elections couldn't be more pivotal - not only will they elect two MLAs but may serve as a road map for the future of the BC Liberal Party, BC Conservative Party and Premier Christy Clark.

Two BC Liberal losses would be a devastating blow to Clark's leadership - and rumours are already circulating about another defection from her caucus to the BC Conservatives.

Could it be John Rustad who follows in the footsteps of John van Dongen, the Abbotsford South MLA who quit the party to join BC Conservative leader John Cummins' surging forces?

Or could the BC Liberals narrowly eke out a win under Chilliwack-Hope candidate Laurie Throness thanks to his federal Conservative connections with former boss Chuck Strahl.

Stay tuned - your comments and predictions most welcome!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

VanCity Credit Union elections - my choices are Yaron, O'Brien & McDade

VanCity Credit Union elections for 3 Directors are on right now and my choices are Gil Yaron, Jan O'Brien and Greg McDade.

I know all three - and I formerly sat on the VanCity Board with Greg - and recommend them to readers as good choices to continue the progressive leadership that has made VanCity successful.

You can find more information about each candidate at these links:

Gil Yaron

Jan O'Brien 

Greg McDade

Voting in select branches ends April 21.  Online and mail in ballot voting ends on April 27.

More information about how to vote: VanCity


Premier Christy Clark: Winning BC byelections "probably harder than getting a Stanley Cup" - but incumbent wins two-thirds, history shows

Premier Christy Clark predicted 2011 Stanley Cup victory for
Vancouver Canucks, giving rise to jinx fears that came true

Which Team Changes Manager First, Vancouver Canucks or BC Liberals?

In a rough sport, Christy Clark faces pressure if her party loses both byelections.

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday April 17, 2012

By Bill Tieleman

"It's a tough one. You know, winning three byelections for the government in... a 12-month period is probably harder than getting a Stanley Cup."

- B.C. Premier Christy Clark

The Vancouver Canucks find out shortly just how hard it is to advance in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, let alone take home the shiny silver mug.

And Premier Christy Clark will find out Thursday night if she does even better than that.

But it's highly unlikely the BC Liberals can win even one of the byelections in Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope to go along with her narrow Vancouver-Point Grey win last year, let alone both.

While Clark and her team are desperately dampening byelection expectations with Stanley Cup analogies, there are other ways of viewing B.C. political history that are far more telling.

Two out of three aren't bad odds

Clark is correct in saying that: "History is not on the government's side when it comes to byelections. The only byelection that government has won in 30 years was the one that I won in Vancouver-Point Grey this last year, so you know we're battling tough odds in this."

And Clark cheerleader Geoff Plant, the former BC Liberal attorney-general under ex-premier Gordon Campbell, is also helpfully chiming in that his party will be defeated in both ridings.

"The government should lose both these byelections because governments usually lose byelections," Plant said.

But consider another set of statistics that are equally, if not more valid.

Since 1952 the incumbent party in a B.C. byelection has won 67.5 per cent of those contests, while rival parties won the seat in just 32.5 per cent of those votes.

In other words, the party in office before the byelection has won them two out of every three times for the past 60 years.

Pressure to deliver

That makes Clark's victory last year to barely win the seat Campbell comfortably held since 1996 far less impressive -- and adds pressure on the BC Liberals to win at least one of the byelections to keep up with those statistics.

Add to the fact that both Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope were previously safe BC Liberal seats for several elections before this -- and that Clark herself was the MLA for Port Moody from 1996 to 2005 -- and you have double trouble.

In fact, former BC Liberal MLA Iain Black easily won Port Moody-Coquitlam in the 2009 provincial election with 52 per cent of the vote versus the BC New Democrats' 40 per cent.

And in Chilliwack-Hope, former BC Liberal Attorney General Barry Penner handily beat the BC NDP by a margin of 53 per cent to 33 per cent.

But this time the BC Liberals face popular former Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini running for the NDP while previous NDP candidate Gwen O'Mahony is back for another try in the Chilliwack-Hope byelection.

The NDP candidates may be helped by the absence of Green Party candidates this time in both ridings, since the Greens took 6.6 per cent of the vote in Port Moody-Coquitlam and 5.6 per cent in Chilliwack-Hope.

And the resurgent BC Conservatives have nominated well-known newspaper columnist and criminologist John Martin as their Chilliwack-Hope candidate, turning the contest into a tight three-way race, as has the defection of long time BC Liberal MLA John van Dongen to the BC Conservatives last month in next door Abbotsford South.

Libs' first line

BC Liberal candidate Laurie Throness, a former Reform Party and Conservative staffer in Ottawa is trying to hold the Chilliwack-Hope fort, while Dennis Marsden, who lost neighbouring Coquitlam-Maillardville to the NDP in 2009, is trying to save Port Moody-Coquitlam for the BC Liberals this time.

Christine Clarke -- her real name, to the BC Liberals' chagrin -- is the BC Conservative candidate in that riding.

With both an Angus Reid Public Opinion poll and a Forum Research poll showing the BC Liberals tied with the BC Conservatives at just 23 per cent each, and the BC NDP at either 43 or 46 per cent respectively, Clark's chances of taking home the Stanley Cup of provincial politics look decidedly bleak.

And like the Vancouver Canucks, losing brings the extreme risk of a change of team manager.


Friday, April 13, 2012

BC's Political Twitter Influencers unveiled - Hill & Knowlton tabulates Twitter and I rank #7 among journalists

Here are the Masters of BC's Political TwitterVerse!

The smart folks at Hill & Knowlton Strategies Canada came up with a great idea - measure the influence of BC's Twittering journalists and politicians and tabulate the results into BC's Political Twitter Influencers.

I am very pleased to see that I ranked Number 7 on the Journalist side - snide comments from BC Liberals now accepted - but I am thrilled since I am the only weekly columnist and blogger on the list versus all the full-timers.

And even more satisfying - that I have been on Twitter longer than any other Top 10 journalist and any politician save the trendy Spencer Chandra-Herbert, who bested me by a few months.

I can see that I have to boost my follower numbers and my output to take on the likes of top ranked Number 1 Keith Baldrey of Global TV and Number 2 Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail - but I believe their endless Tweets about the Vancouver Canucks and other sports trivia should be omitted from the count, if only for the sake of Twitter's readability!  ;-)

BC Liberal Education Minister George Abbott takes top honours on the Politicians side, ahead of even Premier Christy Clark, while BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix leads for the opposition side.

No doubt this Twitter tale of the tape will make for intense competition in the year ahead.

Here's Hill & Knowlton's graphic presentation of their results:


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lawrence "Larry" Bibby - disability activist passes away - rest in peace

Lawrence Bibby - 1942-2012
My friend Lawrence Bibby - a dedicated activist for the rights of people with disabilities - has sadly passed away.

Lawrence was known as Larry in his earlier life as a layout and design worker at College Printers, where I first met him in 1975 as a young student journalist working at the University of BC student newspaper The Ubyssey.

In those days, Larry was a total character - a strong unionist, intensely interested in politics and world affairs and outspoken on just about anything you wanted to discuss!

At the time, paste up was done manually with waxed galleys, X-Acto knives, rollers and a keen sense of perspective.  It was also a unionized environment, which meant that the student journalists might write, edit and design the paper but the College Printers staff did all the paste up.

Larry many times looked at one of us who was nudging a galley of type or photo on the page and said: "Touch that again and you'll be pulling my X-Acto knife out of your hand!  That's my job!"

Journalists past and present from The Ubyssey like Tom Hawthorn, Rolf Maurer, Chris Gainor, Mike Bocking, Bob Krieger, Sue Vohanka, Marcus Gee, Heather Conn, Doug Rushton and many, many more worked with Larry in those years.

[It was also so long ago that our classified ads were still set in hot lead type!  The enormous changes since then in newspaper production make those days seem pre-historic - but they were a fantastic opportunity to learn how to work with a great crew of printers and remember that while we were volunteers, this was their career.]

Lawrence later developed multiple sclerosis, which ended his working life but not his deep passion for social justice.

When the innovative Chimo Achievement Centre in Coquitlam was facing closure in early 2010 due to Fraser Health Authority cutbacks, Lawrence sprang in to action, organizing people with disabilities to fight the Authority and the BC Liberal government.

Chimo operated a healthcare program that helped keep people with serious disabilities like MS, muscular dystrophy, brain injuries and other illnesses out of hospital by offering a variety of rehabilitation, physical and mental exercises that made them both healthier and happy.

And all this was done on a tiny budget of just $165,000 a year - an amount less than half the $466,000 salary of the Fraser Health CEO Dr. Nigel Murray.

Lawrence spearheaded an online petition, protests, a Facebook page, letter writing to government and health authority officials and more.  He also encouraged and organized Chimo clients and staff not to go without out a fight.

Both the BC Coalition for People with Disabilities and the MS Society strongly opposed the closure, inspired by the grassroots action Lawrence and his friends started.

I was honoured to be able to help Lawrence and the other wonderful people there get attention for their cause through my 24 hours/The Tyee column on Chimo and other advice.

Chimo clients also made a powerful YouTube video explaining why the program was so important to them - Lawrence's interview is at about 5:15 minutes into the video.

Unfortunately, Chimo was closed despite common sense and all those efforts.  I believe a future government will look back at its remarkable record of achievements and say - "why on earth was this closed?"

Lawrence said this to me - and I quoted him in my column: "This program saved my life.  It it's shut down, I'm going to go downhill fast." 

But Lawrence didn't give up.  He left Canada to have MS "liberation therapy" surgery in Mexico and reported to me that the initial results were astonishing. 

Sadly, Lawrence was later diagnosed with cancer, which ultimately claimed his life.   I deeply regret only learning Lawrence was in a hospice the day before he passed away - I had hoped to visit him when I found out.

But my memories of Lawrence and his fighting spirit remain.

An obituary guest book is online at the Vancouver Sun if anyone who knew Lawrence wants to pass on their condolences.

My own sympathies to all of Lawrence's family and friends - he will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Conservative budget cuts kill CBC TV's Connect with Mark Kelley, other programming

Bill Tieleman with Mark Kelley in April 2011 shooting
a show in Vancouver during federal election
More bad decisions at CBC forced by federal Conservative government cuts means the end of TV's Connect with Mark Kelley and other programming, staff

We often hear the bad news about job losses and cutting spending in an abstract way - today I learned that the great CBC TV NewsNetwork show Connect with Mark Kelley has been cancelled as part of federal budget cuts - and it stinks.

I have been honoured to appear on the show with Mark several times - most recently last Thursday about the F35 fighter jet controversy - and think Mark is one of the brightest lights at the CBC.

Now he and his staff have been driven into the ditch by Conservative government budget cuts and CBC management decision making.

And Mark's many fans from coast to coast have been deprived of an intelligent host with an engaging show that looked more in depth at a variety of issue on a daily basis.

Mark is too talented to stay off air - so I hope he remains in a new role somewhere in CBC TV - but he is also someone that any network in the world would love to add to their staff.

Mark's dedicated on and off air colleagues may not be as fortunate, though they are very skilled and hard working.  I wish all the producers and other staff I've dealt with good luck in finding new work.

But for viewers, well, there isn't going to be any good luck.  We've already suffered from ongoing cuts to CBC TV and Radio - and I sadly note also the loss of Dispatches with Rick MacInnes-Rae on Radio One - and it is far from over.

More Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune - cheap American game show TV - is what we will get instead of real news and current affairs reporting, original Canadian drama and comedy and a commitment to public broadcasting.

I urge you to support Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, the non-profit group fighting to save and improve the CBC and public broadcasting in this country - before it's too late.

Lastly - the only thing for those of us who oppose the Conservatives shortsighted and wrongheaded position is to make it vote determining in the next election.


Not only are these CBC cuts wrong - they are another broken election promise.  On May 3, 2011 Conservative Heritage Minister James Moore stated:

"We have said that we will maintain or increase support for the CBC. That is our platform and we have said that before and we will commit to that."  

Moore, Member of Parliament for BC's Port Moody-Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam riding, should be held accountable for what he promised.


Premier Christy Clark leads BC Liberals into incredible hurt locker with no key to get out - election this year?

Even the Wealthy Abandoning BC Liberals

Add this to Clark's miseries: NDP pulling more strongly among $100K voters.

Christy Clark in political equivalent of hurt locker in BC politics
Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday April 10, 2012

By Bill Tieleman

"I don't think she's done anything wrong whatsoever."
- Mike Morton, ex-Gordon Campbell press secretary, on Premier Christy Clark, April 7.

If B.C. Premier Christy Clark hasn't done "anything wrong," why has she taken the BC Liberal government into an incredible hurt locker with no key to get out?
And why does veteran pollster Mario Canseco of Angus Reid Public Opinion say Clark's remarkable 37 per cent gender gap with women voters "is certainly one of the biggest I have seen"?
It's actually difficult to underestimate how bad the BC Liberals situation truly is -- and easy to see the political environment getting much worse very soon.
In just the last two weeks we've seen:
Veteran BC Liberal MLA John van Dongen quit over what he called Clark's failed leadership and lack of integrity, joining the BC Conservatives just as two critical by-elections approach April 19;
B.C.'s unemployment rate jump while the national rate dropped -- in the middle of Clark's vaunted and expensively advertised jobs plan;
The province and municipalities being "shocked" by the federal government announcing significant surprise retroactive wage increases for RCMP officers in B.C. -- which could raise costs by millions just after B.C. signed a 20-year contract extension for RCMP policing services;

Clark embarrassed by disclosure from Elections BC that she did not donate one dime to the BC Liberal Party in 2011 despite leading it;
Worst of all, the latest Angus Reid Public Opinion poll showing the BC Liberals and Conservatives tied at 23 per cent, 20 points back of the New Democrats.
The growing bad news makes it increasingly unlikely Clark has the political support needed to govern until the May 14, 2013 fixed election date.
Losing both by-elections in formerly safe BC Liberal seats of Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope and trailing the BC Conservatives could encourage more MLA defections like van Dongen's -- and calls for Clark to step down as leader.
Behind in just about everything
Or Clark could attempt an early election this year, to head off a loss of leadership, despite daunting odds of success.

That's because the Angus Reid poll astonishingly shows that the BC Liberals are behind the NDP in every imaginable demographic category and on every significant political issue.

The NDP under leader Adrian Dix leads in every region of B.C. but one -- the Interior.
But the Conservatives lead there at 32 per cent, with the NDP right behind them at 30 per cent and the Liberals just third at 26 per cent.
And election with those kind of numbers would gut the BC Liberals' strongholds and likely see the BC Conservatives and NDP split up the region.
Dix is also regarded by polling respondents as better than either Christy Clark or Conservative leader John Cummins to deal with health care, education, the environment, crime and even the economy -- traditionally the NDP's weak spot.
Clark is ahead of Dix on just one issue -- federal/provincial relations -- no doubt after endless photo ops with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
But it's hard to see how a successful campaign can be based on getting along well with Ottawa and nothing else.

Clark's problem with women
Perhaps worst of all for the premier -- women intensely dislike Christy Clark.
The gender gap between Clark and Dix among women voters is stunning -- 52 per cent of women polled would vote NDP but just 15 per cent would support Clark's Liberals -- a 37 per cent gulf.
As Mario Canseco of Angus Reid Public Opinion put it in an email interview:
"On the gender gap -- this is certainly one of the biggest I have seen. And I think it shows that it is not a matter -- as some people wrongly assumed -- of having 'a' woman as leader, but of having 'the right' woman." Canseco says.
"I remember a lot of talk about how the gender gap would narrow under Christy Clark, because women, supposedly, were not happy with Gordon Campbell and were happy with [then-NDP leader] Carole James. This is simply not the case," Canseco argues.
  "The main problem I see for the government is a tendency to go for the quick sound bite. Recent events have been carefully choreographed and seem to be designed to remind people that a woman is in charge," he said.

  "This strategy may have been advisable during the first few months, but now it has to be more about how the premier will act in Victoria, rather than about Christy Clark, a woman, serving as premier."

Gender and other factors
Canseco also gives the BC Liberals some free pollster advice on reductionist thinking about gender.

"A lot of people read too much into the fact that Clark defeated three men to get the leadership. It's not as simple as having a woman in charge and suddenly getting that demographic to support you, no questions asked," Canseco warned.
"It's about policies, and on the issues that women care about the most -- such as health care and education -- Adrian Dix has a sizeable lead over Clark. Unless the policies change and the BC Liberals act to reconnect with this demographic, the gap will grow even more," he concluded.

The Angus Reid poll is equally brutal on Clark's "momentum score" -- the difference between the number of people who say their opinion of the premier has improved versus those who say it has worsened.
In the last three months Dix, Cummins and Green Party leader Jane Sterk all have a modest minus two per cent momentum score -- but Clark's score is minus 49 per cent.

Clark also leads the disapproval ratings of the leaders at 59 per cent, with just 32 per cent approving and 10 per cent "not sure," while Dix's performance is approved by 45 per cent and disapproved by 40 per cent, with 15 per cent undecided.
Cummins' disapproval rate of 38 per cent lags behind his 28 per cent approval rate but he also has a 34 per cent "not sure." The nearly invisible Sterk is the least known, with her "not sure" rate at 43 per cent, 31 per cent disapproving and 26 per cent approving of her work.

'Damage to the BC Liberal brand'
Yet another harbinger of political doom can be seen in the ranking of British Columbia's most important issues.

While the economy ranks first at 24 per cent and health care second at 19 per cent, with both declining slightly since January, leadership as an issue has jumped up to 12 per cent from seven per cent, making it the fastest growing issue of concern. That doesn't auger well for Clark given all the other polling numbers.
In our interview, Canseco points to the federal Progressive Conservative party in 1992-93 as having suffered a similar drop in political support which ultimately proved disastrous after Prime Minister Brian Mulroney wore out his welcome with voters and handed the mess over to his successor Kim Campbell.

Canseco notes that Gordon Campbell's imposition of the Harmonized Sales Tax began the BC Liberal Party's spiral downward, leading to his forced resignation.
"I don't think anyone was surprised when our surveys had the BC Liberals at 23 per cent the week the HST came into place," in July 2010, Canseco says.

"What is certainly troubling for the party is that they are back at the same level after Campbell quit, they had their convention, and the new premier came in with a majority in the Legislative Assembly and reasonable popularity," he wrote.
"You usually get a bounce from a change in leadership when the departing leader is unpopular (we saw it in Alberta right after Alison Redford came in to replace Premier Ed Stelmach), but it has worn off substantially both there and here," Canseco says, pointing out the unfolding political disaster in Alberta, where the upstart Wildrose Alliance under Danielle Smith is strongly leading Redford's Conservatives.

"Part of it is damage to the BC Liberal brand. Clark's rating is currently three times higher than what Campbell had in his worst month, but support for the party is as weak as it was in July 2010."
"So the similarities with the PCs continue. People did not dislike Kim Campbell -- she had the highest approval rating for an incumbent prime minister when the 1993 campaign began.

"But she was unable to keep the PC brand alive due to losing support to a well-organized social democratic alternative [federal Liberals under Jean Chr├ętien], a more right-wing alternative [the Reform Party under Preston Manning] and an exodus from former [Quebec Progressive Conservative] members to form a new party [the Bloc Quebecois under Lucien Bouchard]."
"Clark now has to deal with her own social democratic alternative [Dix, who attracts 14 per cent of 2009 BC Liberal voters] and has a single enemy that is both more right-wing and an attractive venue for former Liberals [the BC Conservatives, who attract 33 per cent of 2009 BC Liberal voters]. This means that 47 per cent of your voters in 2009 are looking elsewhere," Canseco says.

"The [federal] PCs went from 43 per cent in 1988, to 16 per cent in 1993 under Campbell -- that's a 27-point drop. The BC Liberals, right now, are down 23 points [from 46 per cent to 23 per cent]," Canseco concludes.
These are grim numbers indeed by any political party's standard.

But here's another, more graphic way of explaining how bad it is: the BC Liberals aren't even backed by the province's richest voters!
When those making over $100,000 a year are supporting the NDP at 41 per cent versus 28 per cent for Clark's Liberals, after all the party has done for the wealthy over 11 years in power, the penny has definitely dropped in British Columbia.