“Just because everything is different doesn’t mean anything has changed.” ~ Irene Peter
Never would you find a more fitting quotation to apply to our newly unelected Premier’s cabinet appointments. Just because everything is different, doesn’t mean anything has actually changed at all.
I, like many others, watched the live feed of yesterday’s undemocratic proceedings, and I say undemocratic because in this rare instance, democracy has not yet reared her lovely head. There is nothing democratic about swearing-in a leader that has not been duly selected by vote of the people, and if anything, Ms.Clarks glowing expression throughout the ceremony smacked of smug regard in the faces of those who bode her no good will.
However smug she is now, she would do well to enjoy her time in the big chair and take as many photos as possibly to sit and bitterly reminisce over in the cold, dark days of certain defeat. Defeat, because in choosing her cabinet she has effectively terminated whatever chance she may have had in showing cynical British Columbians that she is any different from Campbell at all.
Where to start? Appointing the privatization king, Kevin Falcon, to finance minister and deputy premier was the hail Mary of all mistakes. Falcon, who so proudly pointed out endlessly on his leadership campaign that big business is his best friend, will prove a big barrier to the Liberals winning any election based on the overwhelming public perception that he is Campbell incarnate. If he runs the ministry of finance like he ran the ministry of transportation, we can look forward to a heavy push towards privatising services across the board, as well as a strong surge of P3 projects in entirely new and possibly untested venues. Family first values? Not with this Falcon. He is well-known for stating that he prefers China’s undemocratic methods of forcing projects on people without having to deal with things like public consultation! And we know he loves the HST, so good luck with that one.
And what possibly can I say about Rich Coleman except that he’s been around the Liberal block so many times he’s gone a little past his expiry date and should have been left on the back shelf like sour milk. Remember, it was under Coleman’s watch that 10 jails, 24 courthouses and the Vancouver pre-trial were closed.He was also the minister that rejected calls for a public inquiry into the death of Frank Paul – not once, but twice, first in 2001, and again in 2004. Toss in some issues with the BCLC …. and it’s clear Christy’s choices again leave the people of BC lacking.
Where I find Ms. Clarks mindset for her families first agenda so troubling is to have allowed Mary Polak to stay in cabinet at all, appointed to Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. This woman is so clearly unqualified to handle any position of authority with regards to decisions that directly affect humans of any age, that she too should have been shelved on the sour milk shelf with Rich Coleman. Seriously. She leaves the ministry of children and families with a black cloud of shame over her head for failing the vulnerable and special needs children of our province, a horrific mark on her, and on the Liberals who instead of addressing what they have done wrong, will deflect and make some ridiculous statement about how much money they have put towards families. Is Polak the right choice to steer Aboriginal issues in this province, a segment of our population that is plagued with addiction, poverty and youth depression and suicides? Never.
What I find so interesting is that Christy is facing a variety of difficult challenges in the province, challenges that mean balancing economic hardships with environmental concerns that have been blatantly ignored by Campbell’s government. In appointing so many of the same key players with the same values Campbell demonstrated – ” friends take care of friends” – Christy has revealed her stunning lack of depth in understanding the electorate in the province she is now deemed with running. Does she not get that people don’t want to hear or see Patrick Kinsella’s name in connection with yet another premier? Does she not care that we find it repugnant that she has chosen people working with Enbridge and SNC- Lavelin to head up her transition team? Maybe not, after all this is the premier who loves Manswers…
Clearly, contrary to her claims, Ms. Clark did not listen to the people of BC while working as a talk show host on CKNW, because if she did she would have some inkling that her future as premier is bleak and short. Being a mom does not make you a better premier, but being a person with integrity does. By refusing to discuss the documented proof of her involvement with key players in the sale of BC rail, by refusing to call even the most limited inquiry into the payment of Basi and Virks legal fees, she has effectively killed her own claims to creating an open and transparent government, a contradiction in terms to her own actions she will not be able to back out of at the polls.
As opportunistic as the rest, she has surrounded herself with corporate players and backroom manipulators rivalling the worst -or best- of Campbell’s era, signalling that her hockey mom, families first persona is just that. And considering how Ms. Clark has bought and paid for a good part of Vancouver’s media,( including CTV’s Chris Olsen ‘ On your side’, who is obviously no longer on your side, after all ) – I suspect she has already anticipated the need to create the biggest PR team in BC history to create a bed of roses out of her pile of dung.