A “town hall-style meeting” was held Dec. 12 at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. An SRO crowd attended this meeting. What they were hoping to hear wasn’t really expressed or, for that matter, dealt with.
The premier, replete with her Cheshire cat smile, her silky smooth speaking ability and some of her Praetorian Guard, spoke to the crowd on some issues that were really non-germane to anything relevant. Overall, a Liberal-orchestrated short stay to tell people that although all is not well with the provincial world, the phrase: “We are looking into it,” was given on more than one occasion. The usual rhetoric or smoke and mirror tactic employed by many politicians to placate, no, make that snow the voting public, seemed to be the order of the day. The talk moderator (no surprise here) Bill Barisoff fielded the questions that were offered. I’m almost certain that some of them were diverted intentionally or played down so that no one was put on the spot for answers, especially the premier. I believe that the guard unit was there to run interference if any aspersions had arisen.
The big news seemed to be the concern of the property purchase tax and its economic impact.
Granted, this is important, but only if you’re buying or selling a house. She mentioned that they would like to get rid of this tax. It was mentioned that the general taxation program was not going to change anytime soon. She also mentioned the fact that there would be no rise in taxes nor would there be any lowering of taxes until the provincial economic climate changed. Is she a master of the obvious or what? What does that do to the repealed HST? Nothing was mentioned about the HST and when it would be replaced or scrapped. Why not, you might ask? Who knows if the premier doesn’t?
Of the questions that were asked after vetting, the premier dipsy-doodled quite nicely. Such expressions as: I hope; we are looking into it; it is my understanding that; and the classic one: “It’s one of those things” seemed to be the order of the day. Wow, impressive or what — the old soft-shoe shuffle, again, or better yet, still.
With all said and done, we are no further ahead than if she had stayed in Victoria and told us these “amazing things” through a press release. At least we wouldn’t have had to sit through a nondescript and relatively ho-hum meeting to listen to mundane issues that were not really new.
To say that the meeting was fulfilling would seem to be gross-exaggeration as not much information that might be deemed as new was presented. It was the usual political diatribe and ever-popular photo opportunity that was the focus. If nothing else, it was a self-aggrandizing, image-building opportunity for our premier.