Liberals heading for iceberg

Host of issues have served to diminish the public's opinion of the B.C. Liberal government

Is there a danger that the seemingly unsinkable Liberal Titanic may, in fact, do just that? What has happened since 2001 to make this a possibility? Is there an “iceberg” in the Liberal future?

Let’s reflect a little. Campbell and the Liberals came to the fore in 2001 with sweeping promises: income tax cuts, both personal and corporate; deregulation (reduction of government’s role to allow more freedom in business); sale of government assets, such as the Fast Cats; reduction in spending (which led to reduction of services in some areas); passing legislation making teachers an essential service; lifting of a six-year fee freeze on post-secondary education; environmental policy reversal; Aboriginal treaty reversal; drew up new health policy, however, put several caveats in the policy; introduction of new impaired driving laws; increased minimum wage to $8 an hour; and of course, the orchestration of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Who could overlook that accomplishment? You can see the formation of the tip of an “iceberg,” can’t you?

In 2005,Campbell’s second term as premier added more to the iceberg. Up to now, just a small tip was showing. The economy grew, unemployment fell sharply and Campbell started to look “good”. Whoa, there. Teachers’ actions did not die irrespective of being deemed an essential service. In 2008, we saw the development of the Climate Action Plan for dealing with greenhouse gases, etc. First Nations treaties and discussion of same were revisited. A little progress was made but not without some unresolved issues.

Campbell term number three came upon us. Can you remember that far back in 2009? It brought many revelations: B.C Rail sale scandal; the so-called benefit to B.C taxpayers of the HST; and ultimately, Campbell’s resignation. He’s gone on to bigger and better things.

Enter the Liberal scene, one Christie Clark brandishing a penchant for the slogan: “Families First”. Which families are these? How have they really benefitted? Are we there yet for all of these family first promises. Child poverty in this province says otherwise.

Has there been the plethora of jobs to stimulate the economy such that average families will see benefits. What about the “repealed HST tax” that is still in effect? Is this still benefitting families? Another bump in minimum wage? Big whoop. Too little, too late.

Has there been a reality check on MLA wages and benefits; upper echelon Crown corporation executive wages and benefits, et al? I think we all know the answers to those questions, don’t we?

The iceberg seems to be getting bigger by the day. The B.C. Rail scandal is still evident; the Fast Cat sale is still in many people’s minds; the Families First manifesto has somewhat fallen by the wayside; the promised massive job creation and economic boom hasn’t happened; the HST is still here; dedicated Liberals may be deserting a somewhat sinking ship, a la John Van Dongen; and the NDP and Conservatives appear to have some new life and are adding to the submerged part of the “iceberg” so as to make it more pronounced and much larger with more to see.

I guess the real question is: Is the iceberg getting big enough to sink this so-called Liberal juggernaut? I guess time will tell.

Ron Barillaro