FOULDS: Perhaps it’s time to give third party a shot at ripping us off
Never mind the platform, forget about spewing out more press releases about all that is wrong in B.C.
What B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins should be doing right now is arranging a long lunch date with Gordon Wilson.
It was Wilson, after all, who perfected his timing during the 1991 provincial-election televised debate to establish the B.C. Liberal Party as the centre-right heir to Social Credit.
As NDP Leader Mike Harcourt and Social Credit Leader Rita Johnston bickered, Wilson, then leader of the nothing-to-lose B.C. Liberals, quipped: “This reminds me of the legislature and here’s a classic example of why nothing ever gets done in the province of British Columbia.”
That remark was the highlight of the debate and helped Wilson’s Liberals win 17 seats in the election, which were 17 more than the party held entering the campaign.
When the May 14 election campaign officially begins, Cummins may also want to take a page from a political event in that same year — the 1991 gubernatorial race in Louisiana between former Klansman David Duke and a thief named Edwin Edwards.
Faced with voting for a racist or a man who would soon rip off taxpayers, voter sentiment was captured in the following bumper sticker:
The B.C. Liberals were caught in a deceitful plan to use taxpayer-funded resources to court the ethnic vote via an extremely cynical agenda.
As a result, the party has repaid government $70,000.
While the New Democrats were the ones who revealed this secret plan, Adrian Dix’s party is by no means as clean as the driven snow.
The NDP has its own ethnic-voter scandal brewing with news the party had diverted more than $500,000 from constituency offices across B.C. to be used for what Auditor General John Doyle has determined to be partisan purposes.
The Liberals have accused the NDP of being the pot calling the kettle black, while the NDP has argued its ethnic-voting strategy was at least not secret as the money transfers were authorized by the former legislature accountant.
In any event, taking $200 per month from each NDP MLA constituency office and using it for political-party purposes is wrong.
That money is taxpayer dollars intended for use by constituency offices to deal with constituents, regardless of their political stripe.
Sometimes — often, actually — B.C. politics makes one yearn to take a shower.
With the imploding Liberals caught ripping off taxpayers behind the cloak of private emails and secret messages and the surging New Democrats caught ripping off taxpayers out in the open, thanks to a dubious nod given by a now-fired comptroller, is there any hope for voters?
One would think Cummins’ Conservatives should be measuring curtains for the offices of the Official Opposition, considering my cat could poll better than Christy Clark in Point Grey.
But, for whatever reason, the putative replacements for the Socreds/Liberals cannot escape single-digit purgatory in all polls.
It could be Cummins himself.
While a veteran politician with plenty of experience, he is not exactly Justin Trudeau when it comes to connecting with voters.
The political funk in which the Conservatives have long been is not due to lethargy on their part — for it can be argued no other party has yet released so much platform information.
However, since policy documents and press conferences have not ignited voters, perhaps the Conservatives should borrow from the bayou and simply ask voters to give them a chance to rip off the taxpayer, in the spirit of fairness.