“Retiring” Liberals Fleeing Their OWN Record

They were there.  You may not remember that, given the selective memories of media reporters and pundits spinning the departures of so many provincial Liberal cabinet ministers and MLAs.

That’s what happens when reporters who have been covering the Legislature far too long explain the departures of long-time politicians who have become “friends”  and when pundits who have now become part of the establishment that they used to cover try to explain.

We get the spin: all those Liberals abandoning ship are doing so due to personal matters or because of Christy Clark, who badly handled the HST referendum  and the follow up, who has governed badly, who has fallen in the polls, and whose political strategists and strategies are clearly going nowhere.

All those things are true.

BUT what the media are FAILING to zero in on is what I believe is a very real reason those now running away are doing so: their own records in office.

They were there.  They were part of the introduction and approval of the despised and ultimately disgraced HST … either as members of the Gordon Campbell cabinet that brought it in or  the vast majority of Liberal MLAs who applauded it in the legislature at all stages of the debate and failed to stand up against up, either in the voting or in interviews outside the House or with their own constituents.

Don’t forget: Kevin Falcon was on board as a Liberal MLA and cabinet minister since 2001; John Les also elected in 2001; George Abbott, 1996; Bill Barisoff, 1996; Harry Bloy, 2001; Murray Coell, 1996; Dave Hayer, 2001; Kevin Krueger, 1996; Mary McNeil, 2009; Kash Heed, 2009 … all of them there … supportive or silent …  when the HST was introduced, adopted and implimented.

(Blair Lekstrom served as the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Products for Campbell: he resigned from caucus over the HST on June 11, 2010, but returned to the Liberal fold under Clark, serves as Transportation Minister  and defended the tax during the referendum …and, as far as I know, will run for re-election.)

Let’s keep it real: all those Liberals jumping ship know very well that next May they would have faced the wrath of the voters, who have NOT forgotten their roles in bringing in, applauding, defending the HST.

Especially now that the TRUTH has become known: the HST was not revenue-neutral, as they …and their media mouthpieces … told us so often,  but a HUGE shift of the tax burden from corporations onto the backs of consumers … the very people who elected those Liberals.

Not to mention all those cutbacks at the same time to education funding, remaining long health care waiting lists,  the disgraceful treatment of BC’s paramedics (still continuing), BC Rail, BC Ferries/David Hahn funding fiasco, ICBC’s wasteful management practices, parks and environmental cutbacks etc. etc.

May will be payback time!

And they would have been sent packing … in shame.  As will many of their remaining co-conspirators.

The MSM reporters and the MSM pundits can blame it on Clark all they want: the people KNOW the truth.

Those Liberals heading for the hills are doing so to avoid THEIR OWN record and failings, that would likely have sentencem them to at least four years in purgatory …  Opposition.

And they simply  don’t want to face the music.

Harv Oberfeld


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26 Responses to “Retiring” Liberals Fleeing Their OWN Record

  1. Hans Goldberg says:

    The salaries and perks 0f the MLAs are partly to blame for this. Being selected by a party as a candidate is like a grab for the brass ring, because if the winning candidate follows the party line and wins another election, she or he is basically set for life.

    (Response: Of course, many of those perks also go to Opposition MLAs, esp if they become official critics and committee chairs. h.o)

  2. BDW says:

    Good one Harvey. Required reading along with Alex Tsakumis today as well.
    These are nothing but a bunch of cowards who know very well that they would be called to account next election, whenever it is. I’m sure there will be more rats deserting the sinking ship in the days and weeks to come. No matter what spin they put on it, it all comes down to cowardice.

    (Response: Click here for a link to Alex Tsakumis’ take on it all.

  3. e.a.f. says:

    Good column. You are so right. They were there for all of it. They were all supporting everything that was done. As a result we have dirty hospitals which caused 83 people to die of infections in Burnaby General in 2 1/2 yrs.; leaving B.C. Ferries in debt because no body could figure out that 10% on money owing is more than 3% & haven’t done anything to improve that situation; but the worst thing all of them are responsible for is B.C. having the highest rate of child poverty, in Canada, for 8 consecutive yrs.

    These politicians didn’t care enough about the children of B.C. to ensure they were adequately housed, feed, clothed, educated. What a legacy these politicians have left.

    Now they go on to collect those lovely pensions, pensions which they wouldn’t want the average worker in B.C. to have because their friends in business wouldn’t want to have to help finance something like that.

    I suspect they are also resigning their cabinet posts so they can spend more time looking for new jobs. I am quite certain that if any of them had job offers they would have been gone by now. They may find there is slim pickings for the jobs they want. They can join the rest of the unemployed in B.C.

    (Response: Corporate BC will no doubt reward them …Well done, thou good and faithful servants. h.o)

  4. Ian Fromme-Nelson says:

    And as for inviting a convicted member of a terrorist hit-squad to sit in on her Throne Speech –well, that’s just plain goofy.

  5. R says:

    How is it we are paying ten percent for bc ferry a tear and for how long how much?

  6. R says:

    12years later 24 billion more in debt thanks liberals for 24 billion extra debt 2 b per year

  7. Bob W says:

    I wonder if throwing Liberals out of office is allowing them to escape without punishment? If you look at the things these Liberals have done to British Columbia, you’d think they were operating as moles to undermine the province!
    WITH the help of MSM people like Bill Good, Keith Baldrey and Vaughn Palmer, very cleverly writing and speaking as if they are unbiased! Great article, Harvey.

    (Response: Will be interesting to see what NDP does, if elected: on BC Rail sale; on payout of Basi Virk legal fees; on selloff (pending) of liquor distribution branch to people with connections? Could be criminal charges in at least some of these if real investigations are carried out. h.o)

  8. G. Barry Stewart says:

    In July, George Abbott invited teachers to have direct communications with him and his ministry, about the future of public education.

    Who would have guessed that he’d be pulling the plug, just as throngs of teachers were ready to send communications to him?

    I can hear them now: “Get lost, George!”

    Having said that, I don’t believe it was Abbott who had the hate on for teachers. It came from higher up (Christy?) and he, sadly, was the willing bag man.

    Of all the Liberals, I had some respect for George, Lekstrom as well — and I enjoyed his parting quip about his wife NOT expecting a baby.

  9. DonGar says:

    CC concerned over RCMP whistle blower raid. “Public confidence in our police force is crucial to maintaining your democratic process,” Christy Clark said.

    “If people don’t believe that police are doing their job well, our democracy ceases to function.”

    Well she’s got that right especially on the BC Rail file.

  10. harry lawson says:

    harvey you have hit the nail on the head.

    what a disservice our news outlets have done to the people of bc.

    a reporters job is to ask hard questions, report the facts. be another level in protecting our fragile democracy.

    it truly saddens me what our media has turned in to .

    (Response: Political reporting is far too tame and shallow now…very sad. By the way, for those interested, following up on what I blogged about a few weeks ago, I now hear … still not officially confirmed … McCardell has done his last story on Global …his post-vacation negotiations apparently did not go well. Wish him well. h.o)

  11. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Regarding Mr. Abbott’s new job, working with education guru John Abbott (no relation):

    • Is this a “soft landing?”

    • Did the job exist before he chose to quit?

    • Who is paying his wages?

    If the answers are Yes, No and Us… it’s time for the MSM to do some investigative reporting.

  12. Gary T says:

    That’s too bad. Most nights, the only part worth watching was Mikes spot. All the best to you Mike !!

  13. Ed Seedhouse says:

    And when the NDP is elected next year the mainstream press, obedient to their masters, will turn on them like rabid dogs and explain how every thing they do is not only wrong, but criminal.

    I hope as government we (because I am a member and a very minor member of their governing structure at the local level) will have the guts to, like Trudeau, to give them the finger and do what’s right for the Province nevertheless.

    My voice, however minor and unimportant it may be, will be advocating that we do just that. The press will always hate us, so to hell with them and let’s do something right for the people we govern.

    We need people like you, Harv, who will not criticize just to criticize but to call it as you see it, even when you are (in my opinion) wrong.

    Actually, to contradict myself above (where I was venting my spleen) I wouldn’t really give the finger to the press, I would say “thank you very much for your opinion” and then go ahead and do the right thing anyway. With, of course, the proviso that on those few occasions that the press and critics have a good point, and then they thank the press for their criticism and change course.

    One thing I can guarantee is that the NDP will make mistakes, because every government makes mistakes. The test will be whether they can learn from them and do better.

    I will be pushing them, in my small and unimportant way, to do that.

    (Response: Me wrong? How could that be. I’m sure if I am not proven right re any topic on any given day, I will be at some point in the future! 🙂 h.o.

  14. GeeBee says:

    They are all morally bankrupt.
    To not only hide, but run, from your record is the most cowardly thing anyone can do. They are spineless, selfish trough lickers and I hope each and every LIEberal MLA is shunned in his/her community. They need to be chased out of town like Gordo.

    (Response: Gordo wasn’t actually chased out of town …he was airlifted by Harper and planted in London at Canada House, complete with diplomatic salary, luxury living, limo service … and regular invites to Buckingham Palace. Payoff for a job well done … for Harper and Big Business. h.o)

  15. D. M. Johnston says:

    If it wasn’t for the “free pass” by the mainstream media, particularly the Vancouver Sun, Global TV and NW’98, I don’t think the Liberals would be in the predicament they find themselves in.

    Where the MSM made many mountains out of molehills with the NDP, they glossed over things that were far worse with the Liberals and Gordo, Falco, and the rest of that unseemly mob took great advantage.

    Instead of “Fast Ferries” (if I hear one more time “fast ferries” on dead dog 98, I will upchuck), no mention is made of the German “Das Zitrones” which have cost the taxpayer dearly, as the powerful prop-wash has scoured the pilings around the docks they use; so much so, that over $100 million has been spent securing the very safety of those docks!

    Not a peep from the MSM! Not a peep about the “Das Zitrones” about their poor handling qualities and penchant to guzzle fuel; strangely all is quiet with the MSM.

    Gordon Campbell will go down in BC history as one of the worst carpet-bagging premiers the province has ever had and just maybe, a BC Rail inquiry or some other Liberal scandal will bring him in front of the dock for his just deserts.

    No, the BC Liberals should not blame anyone but themselves for their current debacle, their friends in the MSM laid the foundation for political annihilation from the onset.

  16. D. M. Johnston says:

    By the way and it is sort of off topic, but Delta South MLA, Viki Huntington (independent) may be the official opposition after next May’s election if she runs.

    (Response: Unlikely..but fun to think about! 🙂 I still admire the great job Joy McPail and Jenny Kwan did when BC voters sent the NDP to purgatory for a term. h.o.

  17. 212Degrees says:

    All through the HST debate, many of its vocal supporters maintained that it should be voted for and the Liberals should be held accountable only at election time. With all these high level resignations from the Liberal cabinet, we are now denied the satisfaction of holding them accountable as suggested and carrying out a public spanking by voting them out of office. And to add insult and frustration to injury, the culprits get to walk away with rewards in the form of exorbitant pensions. Is there no justice left in the world?

    (Response: There will probably still be many around for people to throw out, if that’s what they want. But at the rate they’re heading for the lifeboats, with their pension suiticases filled with cash, you never know! h.o.)

  18. Gini says:

    I thought there were two independent MLAs. Did Cariboo North’s Bob Simpson quit? I sure hope not, as he is one of the best speakers in the Legislature, IMHO. We need more like him and Vicki out there.

    (Response: You’re right…. I believe Bob is still sitting as an independent MLA making that two, along with Vicki. h.o)

  19. R says:

    Blogs like yours and websites like integritybc.ca help with objectivity and less embedded softball reporting.

    (Response: Thanks. h.o)

  20. Mo says:

    “Blogs like yours and websites like integritybc.ca help with objectivity and less embedded softball reporting.”

    oh so true!!!

    I try to get family members to explore blogs more often and to give up on the MSM. Said MSM has become nothing but PAID Ads. They have become fluff and toadies of the Government.

    (Response: The mainstream media (MSM) still have an important role to play in covering events … but most are not as fair and balanced as they used to be: I believe they promote the right wing big business agenda, probably shared by their owners. Ever listen to Michael Campbell’s or Bruce Whatshisname’s daily rants .. without any counterpoint offered…or remember when Global gave Campbell air time ON THE NEWSHOUR to make a speech or how the millionaire radio pundits ridiculed Vander Zalm both personally and for for even thinking he could get enough signatures for an HST referendum? That’s where the blogosphere has become of huge importance in keeping it real…but you have to be careful there too ..lots of unproven even crazy biased writing and allegations out there. h.o)

  21. crh says:

    Can we all just remember please that the NDP being sent to purgatory was in large part due to the unrelenting media. The deck being the biggie. I don’t think that the NDP would have been reduced to two seats if it were not for that same media. The Liberals now suffering from voter backlash are doing so under soft reporting and still have an advantage in their times of trouble.

  22. r says:

    politicians are probably worried that a hockey strike will cause more people to focus on current events.Is that why the political season is same as hockey season almost.?

  23. Larry Bennett says:

    If there was ever any doubt about the caprice of anyone who goes by the title “Liberal”, it is to be found in the Red Chamber where presently (up to a few days ago) the party has been propping up an ailing Senator and attempting, by claims of compassion, to make them look competent enough to cast votes while collecting full wages, benefits and etc., in order to prevent the Conservatives from appointing one of their own to that august forum. At least the Torys might be willing to have us elect the replacement.

  24. Jason says:

    I remember reading about this on a newspaper website and I laughed. I think it was mostly laughter out of anger because I was so looking forward to all these Lieberal (spelling is intentional) politicians who destroyed so much and pat themselves on the back for each scandal of theirs get voted off the island by the people whom they have been beating down on.

    Instead, they get to “retire”, face absolutely no accountability, and cash in on one of the most generous pension plans that I helped to fund them… all for working what, 6 or 8 years or something like that? Funny thing is thanks to their legislated contract on people in my profession, plus the other increases I’ve had to pay out, I won’t be able to afford anywhere near their pension even if I work 70 years full-time.

    (Response: I think anyone working private industry would marvel at how huge the pensions are for ELECTED officials … most of them getting double or triple after, say, 15 years in office, than others get after 30 years. But guess who sets the elected officals pensions:the elected officials! h.o.)

  25. Devendra says:

    It is very distressing that a rag-tag group of MLAs thogurh public criticism and intimidation have forced the democratically-elected NDP leader to resign. What did the dissidents think would happen? Or did they think? The members I talk to are angry, disgusted, puzzled and ashamed to call themselves New Democrats. Morale is at an all-time low. And meanwhile the Provincial Executive of the party prefers to sweep all this under the rug and hopes we have short memories. Since there will be no consequences for those who ignored our governing Provincial Council and constitution, it will be no surprise if the next Leader faces the same problems. How can any member have faith in a party where a minority refuses to act in accordance with our common set of rules and is allowed to do so by the executive?

  26. Suresh says:

    I’ll make a couple of cnmoemts about the links between Federal and Provincial politics. Throughout history in BC there has been a substantial element of BC on the right and left who don’t particularily like Central Canada and the federal government and while not overtly hostile don’t particularily want much to do with the federal government. I suspect it is not difficult to guess that someone like Bill Vander Zalm has been in the group throughout his career as are people like Bill Tielemen and Chris Delaney along with their enablers in the media.On the otherhand underbeknowced to many in the media I would argue there is now a substantial element of the population in BC that know longer wants to be at war with the federal government and in principle thinks the idea of a stronger economic union or a national securities regulator or even in concept a national sales tax collection system are not just not bad ideas but actually pretty good. The great thing for the BC Liberals is they have locked up this second group really without challenge for the last decade. I suspect if you look closely many new immigrants and many just new to the province who haven’t been around for past provincial federal battles fall into this second group.In regards to Bruce Ralston I actually think he is making a smart move with regards to indicating he is not going to go into battle with the federal government at a drop of a hat. Some in the first group won’t like it and think he is a sellout to Central Canada however as mentioned an increasing portion of the province has little desire to have poor relations with other provinces. Personally I think the provincial NDP should go further and take a more distant relationship with the federal NDP party just at the BC Liberals have done although for different reasons. I know this sounds counterintuative to my point about increasing desire for links with the rest of the country but the Federal Liberals are the main centre left party in most of the country and at least behind the scenes that is the party federally any provincial centre left party should to ally with. It’s no secret people in the Saskatchewan NDP like Lorne Calvert and Roy Romanow are far closer to the Jean Chretien and Paul Martin than they are to Jack Layton.

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