Politicians never cease to amaze me with number of flip-flops they can do. Todays big Hoorah, goes out to the BC Liberals latest attempt at looking like they actually care about BC’s kids.
For example, just before Christmas, NDP MLA Leonard Krog introduced a private members bill called the Smoke Free Car Act, that went nowhere. He wanted to stop parents from subjecting their kids to second hand smoke in cars- great idea, I think. However, this idea fizzled immediately, and the house would not even bother to debate the issue, that’s how strongly the Liberals felt it was a bad move.
Mr Magoo himself, BC Health minister Geroge Abbott said back then that the BC government was not ready to make such a “drastic” move, because they didnt feel society was ready for such a measure- that is, individuals being told they could not smoke in their cars or homes. They did, however, announce all the new restrictions that recently came into play on March 31st.
Imagine my surprise yesterday, when I heard on the news that the Liberals newest wind up doll , Solicitor John Van Dongen, announced that soon it will be an offence to smoke in a vehicle with a child under 16 ??!!! Yes, and in The Province , it was even presented as ” following through on a throne speech promise”…
How noble !
How caring ! Apparently the chief medical officer now thinks that its a great idea, because the effects of cigarette smoke in a confined space are heightened and can have long term health consequences. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/04/28/bc-smoking-ban-children.html
So , the BC Liberals have once again performed an outstanding flip flop on this one, in their efforts to look both progressive and bold.
For those who don’t any better, let me refresh your memory… This smoking ban was a GREAT idea back in November when the NDP tried to bring in it, and it should have happened then – not several months later when the Liberals have been facing a series of PR difficulties that have done nil for public confidence.
NDP MLA Leonard Krog worked long and hard with high school students on the island last year to introduce the bill in November, and its sad the Liberals continually put politics ahead of kids health and safety. In an aside, its quite sad that a bill like this has to even be created, as one would think parent should just know better. However, I cant even begin to count how many times I’ve seen mums and dads smoking away in a vehicle with kids in the back seat… occasionally with the window open a tiny crack.
Back on topic now.
News flash people. Don’t tell me this is about saving or protecting kids,because this current move is nothing more than strategy in an ongoing popularity contest .
It reminds me of the recent talk surrounding a plastic shopping bag ban. Several politicians with the metro Vancouver region, including Surrey’s mayor Dianne Watts, were recorded on TV saying they don’t think banning bags is the way to go. However, after several news stories it became increasingly apparent that the public overwhelming supports such an idea, and suddenly Dianne was counted as a “YES” supporter -along with a couple others who had originally said no to the idea. Yes, flip- flops come in a wide variety of styles and colours…
Will it happen? Will BC take the big step towards banning plastic bags? I say yes, but not because its the right thing to do – only because Ontario is pursuing a ban aggressively , http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2008/04/09/plastic-bags.html and with BC’s Campbell government billing itself as the most environmentally conscious, I cant see him letting Ontario beat them at something so simple. Banning plastic bags may be a small step, but as someone who has toured the Vancouver landfill – I can tell you, small steps make big differences.
The truth is, flip-flops and damage control strategies are the way politics works. Rare is the politician who stands behind their words, or shows the moral and ethical fibre that one would hope to associate with a position of public influence. You might enter wanting to accomplish great goals, but caught up in the cut-throat fray of policy is where most end up.
Welcome to Canadian politics.