Politically, British Columbia is at a crossroad similar to the one faced by all Canadians two decades ago. By 1993 the arrogance of the federal Progressive Conservative Party had so infuriated Canadians that it never recovered from the thrashing it received at the polls. Fortunately a vibrant new political party anchored the country in common sense over the next 15 years and stopped the federal Liberals and NDP from spending us into the same poorhouse Greece finds itself in today. Indeed, the only thing that held the federal Liberals in place so long was the fact that they concocted the ridiculous notion of a Reform Party “hidden agenda” and used it to scare Canadians.
In spite of all that the new party eventually absorbed the remnants of the PCs and became the Conservative Party of Canada — a party which now governs Canada with a strong majority government. By all reasonable accounts the federal Conservative Party has done extremely well, its strong economic policies allowing Canadian entrepreneurs to catapult Canada to a position at or near the top of most measures of prosperity, lifestyle, and happiness — and all that during a devastating global recession. So much for the “hidden agenda” we used to hear so much about.
Today British Columbia is in a situation similar to 1993. The galloping arrogance of the governing Liberals has so enraged British Columbians that our anger is palpable. Irresponsible and pointless “carbon” taxation, declining health care standards, the sale of BC Rail, and a new Liberal leader floundering in another unpopular tax controversy all point to a massacre of the BC Liberals in the polls next election.
Except for one thing. The alternative. The NDP devastated British Columbia between 1991 and 2001 and because most of us don’t want to see it happen again we’re in danger of holding our noses and voting Liberal again. After all, what choice is there?
Fortunately there is a choice. The BC Conservatives have just elected a new leader — John Cummins, an original Reform Party member, and by all accounts membership in this vibrant party is skyrocketing. Not only does Cummins bring his own experience but the experience and credibility of other former MPs and political organizers. And this time the Liberals won’t be able to pull the same fear mongering as they did in the 1990s. Remember the “guns in the streets” nonsense? It’s shopworn, old, and obviously untrue. With an experienced leader, a new platform, and strong membership, the BC Conservative Party represents a real choice between the arrogance of the BC Liberals and the freewheeling irresponsibility of the NDP.
We owe it to ourselves to take a fresh look at the BC Conservatives.
Scott Anderson, Vernon