History is being made in Canada today. Not just the fact that this is our country’s 143rd birthday; not because Queen Elizabeth has joined the celebrations; not not even because the HST has come into effect.
No, history is being made because, for the first time since Confederation, the PEOPLE have sent the most important Canada Day message … to our “leaders” and our politicians and all their strategists and all their apologists: WE”RE MAD AS HELL AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!
Usually on Canada Day the message come in the other direction: from the Premier, the Opposition Leader, the Prime Minister, the Governor General and all kinds of other officials and self-designated imaginary potentates who think we are moved, stimulated and impressed by their message.
But the real message that moved, stimulated and impressed me was the one delivered yesterday, in time for Canada Day, by 706,000 British Columbians and will resound with ALL elected officials across the country: don’t mess with us anymore …we’ve had it!
They said it couldn’t be done; the pundits laughed, chuckled and derided the man leading the charge; the government was so arrogant they didn’t even register to take part in the fight … but Wednesday former Premier Bill Vander Zalm made them all eat humble pie when he delivered petitions signed by more than 706,000 British Columbians … ALL of them VOTERS!! … to Elections B.C. opposing the much hated HST, trying to force the BC government to cancel the tax or hold a referendum on it.
Of course, the tax went into effect today, as the majority Liberal government directed under legislation passed earlier: but the victory is clearly NOT the government’s.
The PEOPLE have won the day, openly and with determination, sending their own Canada Day message:
Don’t lie to us; don’t deceive us; don’t take us for fools; don’t think we aren’t watching; don’t think we are all totally complacent; don’t believe we won’t mobilize; don’t dream we won’t strike back; and, don’t think you’ll pay for your disdain of us!
Premier Gordon Campbell is the biggest loser in all this. He may have his tax, and will no doubt reap some sort of corporate/political reward down the reward in the not-too-distant future … but his personal reputation, after more than 30 years of public service, lies in the gutter. Disliked; disrespected, disbelieved, dishonoured and disdained by the the majority of the very same people who trusted him and elected him: a tragic figure of Shakespearean proportions.
And I believe the reasons for his public fall from grace goes beyond the HST.
Talk to people and there are many other things they are also very unhappy with in this “the best place on earth”, even though they may not personally be affected … right now. Like….
The $8/hour minimum wage …or the even more incredible $6/hour “training” wage … the lowest in Canada: unchanged since 2001 and a disgrace that should embarrass us all;
The disgraceful treatment of our paramedics … still struggling for a fair wage agreement … but denied both binding arbitration and also the right to strike … modern day slaves under Campbell’s Liberal government’s twisted labour policies;
The promise NOT to sell BC Rail …but then effectively in the eyes of many doing just that, with a 900-year lease to CNR of the rail bed, in my view thumbing their noses at the voters;
The pre-election lies about the province’s deficit situation, so wildly out of whack, it had to be deliberate or an example of the worst financial incompetence, rivaling the NDP’s fast ferry fiasco;
Speaking of the fast ferries, what about the $800 million convention centre overrun … just another mistake?
And all those cuts to hospitals, schools, kids, community centres …while piling millions into the pockets of those who will profit (including the huge casino/hotel being built next door) from the $458 million BC Place new roof project (wait for the final bill on that one!) on BC Place.
There IS a message in the public’s anger and that’s why so many were motivated to get out, seek out and walk or drive to an anti-HST rallying point just to sign the petition … even thousands upon thousands who readily admitted igt wasn’t so much the HST itself that brought them into action … but the overall deceit and disatisfaction with Campbell and his government.
Campbell will pay; many current Liberal MLAs will pay: the message from the people has not yet been completely delivered. Just the first part.
Happy Canada Day!