Gordon Campbell kept his promises, the BC Legislature would
sit today (October 1st) in accordance with the Legislative
Calendar. There is enough business: six
Bills were left on the Order Paper when the House adjourned
in May, not to mention ratification of the Tsawwasen treaty
and Campbell's promised interference in the "independent"
electoral boundaries commission. The Legislature serves
the purpose of holding government to account so government
doesn't want it to sit and has delayed its call until October
going to notice Campbell's broken promise when he's busy
hob-knobbing with former Vice-President Al Gore? Gore praising
Campbell for his environmental promises is enough to make
a New Democrat choke. Gore was introduced by Campbell at
on Saturday September 29th where tickets went for up
to $500; there's got to be a hanging
chad there somewhere! Wasn't Gore briefed on Campbell's
flavour of the month approach to politics?
got more initiatives, and promises that BC will be best
in the world, than Carter's got pills or Clinton had cigars.
gas promises are notably lacking in any significant
change that will affect emissions before the next election
on May 12th, 2009; in fact, it is hard to find any commitment
for a measurable outcome prior to the May
14, 2013 election, before which Campbell is likely to
retire. He has promised to appoint a "Climate Action
Team" charged with developing targets for 2012 and
2016. If the government of the day fails to meet those targets,
it can criticize the "Team"; meanwhile, Campbell
hasn't committed to delivering any measurable outcome for
the reduction, or the reduced growth in, greenhouse gases
within his mandate. That shouldn't surprise anyone as it
is no different than his "Five Great Goals", his
"transformational" forces of aging, knowledge,
creativity and the Pacific Gateway, his health conversation,
his housing renewal or his green (without budget) plan.
With a challenged attention span, Campbell flits from topic
to topic while the public seems to forget that he has yet
to deliver on previous promises.
job of the Official Opposition is to hold the government
accountable and remind the public of Campbell's failings.
Unfortunately for Carole James she sometimes attracts more
criticism over her positions than she attracts attention
for her criticism of Campbell. Divisions within her caucus
over the MLA pay hike, the Tsawwasen treaty and the Gateway
project has left James looking indecisive. Vancouver
Province columnist Michael Smyth regularly comments
on James' over dilemma; it's not fair to shoot the messenger
as some New Democrats are inclined to do. Smyth wouldn't
have a target if James wasn't hamstrung as a result of divisions
within her caucus. Leading the NDP, particularly the party's
Legislative caucus, is like herding cats.
be a mistake to think that a few internal quarrels will
hinder the NDP in the 2009 election. The contract for the
Port Mann bridge will be let before the election; whatever
the NDP thinks about it will be a mute point. Likewise for
their position on the Tsawwasen treaty; it will be a done
deal long before the election. By the time of that election,
Campbell's flavour-of-the-month approach to politics may
leave more of a bitter taste in the mouths of the voters
than any of the quibbles James suffered with her colleagues.
James' mistakes are over debating points, while Campbell's
have long lasting effects and costs of millions, or billions,
Democrat is going to challenge James for her leadership
before the 2009 election; no one should write her off as
a result of a few shots by armchair pundits. By 2009 the
NDP may succeed in focusing public attention on what Campbell
has delivered rather than what he has promised for a decade
beyond his retirement.