me, I have learned a lot since my days as opposition leader
when the Nisga'a treaty was brought to this chamber. I have
not always been correct in my views, but I have always been,
and I will continue to be, willing to learn and to listen
to the voices of goodwill that drive a better British Columbia."
Premier Gordon Campbell, Hansard, October 17,
me if I'm wrong, but I cannot find another instance recorded
where Gordon Campbell has so clearly admitted that he was
wrong. There are plenty of opportunities to point to the
contradictions between what he said as Opposition Leader
and what he has done as Premier, but Campbell has not previously
put on the record in Hansard so clear an admission
of error as he has done with respect to the change in his
relation with First Nations.
deserves credit for admitting that he was wrong. We could
only wish that he would freely admit other errors and correct
them. Perhaps he could announce that damages inflicted on
thousands of workers with Bill
29 (2002) will be compensated, rather than engaging
in a negotiation charade before introducing legislation
in the spring of 2008 and claiming that the Supreme Court
decision only applies to the future application of his legislation.
Perhaps he could amend
Bill 25, currently before the legislature, so as to
correct the Court of Appeal' "crabbed" interpretation
of section 13 of the Freedom of Information and Protection
of Privacy Act. Perhaps he could show some compassion
for the most unfortunate in our society at a time when the
province is running record surpluses.
Bennett was famous for many things, not the least of which
was his famous "second-look". For reasons that
are probably easy to understand, given the nasty nature
of public life, most politicians are reluctant to admit
mistakes. The WAC Bennett second-look, or the Campbell about-face,
can earn respect. That lesson doesn't have to be restricted
to those with power; members of the Opposition, including
the Opposition Leader, can also benefit by admitting errors.
problems Carole James has encountered as a result of her
positions on MLA compensation, the Tsawwassen treaty and
twinning the Port Mann Bridge, are frequently mentioned
in the columns and commentary of political pundits and critics.
To that list we could add her defense of the NDP Provincial
Council's endorsement of an affirmative action policy. That
policy, which will go before the party's November 16-18
convention for endorsement, requires any vacancy in a riding
currently held by a New Democrat to be filled by a woman.
It is one thing to have affirmative recruitment with constituencies
holding ultimate authority on who will run, but it is another
to say "men need not apply", or to deny that is
what the policy says.
has the opportunity to simply admit that as a rookie MLA
and leader she has learned the hard way. Like the Premier,
she has made some mistakes. When the Premier makes mistakes,
a lot of people can pay the price; when James makes mistakes,
the damage is primarily limited to her embarrassment. It's
obvious who made the most serious blunders, but that hasn't
prevented Campbell from being forgiven. James needs to learn
from that and put mistakes behind her.
19 months to go before the May 12, 2009 election, the public
is likely to be generous with a new Opposition Leader who
acknowledges that "she may not always have been correct
in her views, but has always been, and will continue to
be, willing to learn and to listen to the voices of goodwill
that drive a better British Columbia."