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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:41 pm
 


$1:
Whew, it’s been a while, but B.C. politics are back in whacko-land.

Images of a Liberal backbencher wiping saliva from his face after a spitting mad Premier chewed him up at close quarters and ejected the remains are hard to top, even for those of us who fondly remember an earlier premier carrying a brown paper bag stuffed with $20,000 in U.S. bills out to a darkened parking lot at the Bayshore Hotel.

Or a subsequent premier, felled by a couple of decks, starting his resignation speech with a reference to Monty Python: “I thought of saying it’s only a flesh wound.”

Meanwhile, back in the present, while everyone was still savouring, if that’s the right word, one of the most remarkable tirades in B.C.’s long history of political zealotry, there followed within a mere 90 minutes the equally astonishing retraction of the second largest tax cut in B.C. history.

The abrupt reversal got the approval of the same guy who announced it on TV just a few weeks ago as part of a desperate attempt to use the province’s revenues to save his own political skin.

Has any other government in the history of the world ever announced that drastic a tax cut only to say, “Oh, never mind,” a brief time later? Ho hum, just another day in the Twilight Zone.

What’s next? Kevin Krueger in a tutu? George Abbott resigning to run for mayor of Sicamous? Glen Clark climbing up Jimmy Pattison’s corporate ladder? Er, scratch that last one. Too unbelievable, even for B.C.

At any rate, Bill Bennett, the self-styled “pit bull of the rough and tumble of politics,” has done it again. Only this time, it wasn’t an unfortunate group of environmentalists (“eco-fascists”) or a local gun club member (“self-inflated, pompous American know-it all” plus obscenities) who bore the brunt of the turfed cabinet minister’s penchant for verbal rage. It was the Premier of the province. Mr. Bennett’s rant for the ages is now a hit on YouTube.

As usual, of course, he went too far, calling the cabinet’s meek compliance to the bully-boy Premier “almost a battered-wife syndrome.” This was a highly unfortunate comparison that did no service to the many battered women out there who endure real terror and abuse, and Mr. Bennett has since apologized for making it.

(As near as I can count, that makes three apologies by Mr. Bennett for inappropriate comments over the past couple of years. It reminds one of the line from Alice in Wonderland, as Bill the chimney sweep explodes into the great beyond. “Well,” says an observer, “there goes Bill.”)

What all these shenanigans mean, however, is quite possibly a death knell to the hopes of those in the cabinet contemplating a run to replace Mr. Campbell, who seems to have gone from lame-duck to dead-as-a-dodo Premier in very short order.

Staying the course, remaining mute and sticking with the damaged goods that currently occupy the Premier’s chair can hardly be seen as a ticket to the top.

Come on down, Blair Lekstrom. (You’re not really going to run, are you, Christy?)

***

Quiz time.

Earlier this week, Premier Campbell had this to say as he prepared to make a few remarks. “For all of you still here, thanks for staying. Can you raise your arms and wave them about, so I can see who you are?”

The question is: To whom was Mr. Campbell speaking? Was it (a) a meeting of his remaining supporters within the Liberal party, (b) his cabinet, (c) the East Kootenay chapter of the Happy to Pay the HST club, or (d) none of the above?

And the answer is … (d). Mr. Campbell was, in fact, speaking at his good friend Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Global Climate Summit 3: Building the Green Economy, in sun-baked Yolo County, Calif.

Alas, previous speakers acted too much like non-stop wind turbines. By the time Mr. Campbell’s panel came on at the end of the day, it was the cocktail hour. Climate change is one thing, but this was a chance to drink. The audience voted with its feet.

Still, Mr. Campbell did manage to do a bit of limelight basking before heading home to Hurricane Bill. “It’s way more important to take action [on global warming] than talk,” B.C.’s carbon tax Premier told the scattered handful of delegates.

Responded moderator Bryan Walsh of Time magazine: “It’s really inspiring to hear what B.C. has done.” And California’s muscular governor presented Mr. Campbell with his very own “Climate Action Champion Belt.”

Best of all, no one cared a hoot about the HST.

***

Finally, kudos to the B.C. Liberal executive for deciding on such a fair and sensible method to choose the party’s next leader. Heck, if I didn’t have one more season of The Wire to watch, I might even run myself.


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/rod-mickleburgh/a-remarkable-tirade-followed-by-an-astonishing-retraction/article1805265/


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