2011-06-24

Gordon Campbell: Rewarding Bad Behaviour

Regarding Gordon Campbell Set to Become Canada's High Commissioner to the UK

Congratulations, Mr. Campbell, you have received your reward for loyal service to the Federal Government over service to your own electors. I hope you enjoy Britain. I have every time I've visited.

Can we BCers contact our Conservative MPs, perhaps, and ask that this appointment be rescinded? I mean to.

On the face of it, Campbell has simply joined the list of former premiers appointed by the Conservatives to sinecures, regardless of what party they were from, an action which seems noble enough. To British Columbian voters, it is offensive and undeserved. Mr Campbell, in complete disregard of his own campaign promises used his majority in the Legislature to bring a sweeping change to BC's taxation system just because it seemed expedient at the time for a short-term budget shortfall. Then there is his DUI episode in Hawai'i (the mug-shot which the CBC has conveniently lost is here) for which his apologies ring hollow. Then there is the lease on bargain-basement terms of the BC Rail assets to CN (which resulted almost right aways in an ecological disaster and a fatal accident). And then there was the ham-handed way he fulfilled a campaign promise about the PacifiCat ferries (most of the blame there going to another ex-Premier with better intentions than cleverness) which probably saw them sell for more loss than necessary. The most honourable thing I can think of that Mr. Campbell did was to try to bring treaty settlements to First Nations in BC but even the way that has been done has appeared somewhat clumsy to me, as disputed territories were awarded in some cases to whichever group got to the table first. This man deserves no post-elective reward for his "services" to the people of this province.

So what does it look to me like he is being rewarded for? The federal government has always wanted to impose HST on all provinces that had their own provincial sales tax and without considering the dishonourable way in which it was accomplished, the federal government has rewarded Mr. Campbell for performing its will. Western alienation will continue to have a hearing in this province until Ottawa heeds the advice Paul Newman's character gave to Robert Redford's in The Sting: "You can't play your friends like marks." Until the provinces are treated as friends and partners and not potential victims, until the political processes within them is respected by Ottawa -- not to the detriment of the central authority but still, valuing the integrity of their processes above any particular result, in honour of the over-all sovereignty of the nation -- politics in this country will be at constant risk of subversion to the wills of idiots, charlatans, fear-mongers or worse. Why? Because provincial politics will always be at risk of harm from the machinations of federal politics and the people who graduate from provincial to national politics will be more likely to be rogues and stooges than mature and capable practitioners. In Qu├ębec, this may very well continue to manifest itself as continued separatism while the rest of us aren't blind to the inherent risks that poses, nor do we possess the same obvious fundamental differences.

Hence, I call upon my MP, the Hon. James Moore, to speak up to his Prime Minister and request that he rescind this sinecure appointment to a dishonoured politician from my province. He doesn't deserve the honour and his appointment to it is mischievous. Conferring it does no honour to my province.

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