by Harvey Oberfeld on Monday Jun 21 2010
It’s time for BC’s Liberal MLAs to make a choice: Gordon Campbell or your constituents. There’s no more hiding place behind the words “caucus loyalty” or the explanation they “were just following orders” when they voted for the HST.
The voters are speaking out in astounding numbers, even more so when you consider the anti-HST movement--or should I say revolution--has been truly grassroots: no big political or lobbyist or corporate funding. They WILL be Premier Gordon Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen’s political nemeses.
And the public anger is so great on this issue, the momentum their movement could bring about much more than just a referendum or repeal of the hated HST, but the fall from power, or even the near obliteration, of the Liberal party in the next provincial election. Look at what happened to the BC NDP when the “people” turned their backs on them, or the federal Tories after Mulroney.
Blair Lekstrom saw the writing on the ballots and felt the sentiments of the voters in his riding deeply enough to walk away from not only his cabinet post, and the money that went along with the power, but quit the Liberal caucus as well. As a result, Lekstrom, if he wants to, will politically live another day. And he will no doubt also sleep better at night after doing the right thing.
Now it’s time for ALL the other BC Liberal MLAs to do the same.
They must make a choice: loyalty to Campbell or their voters.
If they are planning to retire anyway before the next election, I can see why they might sacrifice integrity and principle to keep cashing their ministerial cheques, enjoying the plums and privileges of being part of the party in power, and maintain their loyalty to the man whose former speaking power and organizationally superb election machine brought them to office.
But ANY Liberal MLA planning or hoping to still be around after the next election should stand up now, for honesty, decency and integrity.
They no doubt also feel, as we all do, that the government lied and deceived and misled and neglected to tell the voters before the election the truth: that a decision to adopt the HST was so imminent, especialy in the face of the true figures surrounding the provincial deficit.
Liberal MLAs must not stay silent, not if they wish to survive politically for another term.
Campbell will be gone--off to some corporate or political reward--and they will be left to answer and pay the price.
Even under a new leader (Carol Taylor?) I submit that those who “just stay” will wreak the vengence of the ballot box. Because their constituents are their voters and they are clearly demanding action now, not just silence and hiding.
Lekstrom has proven the water is quite fine. Time NOW for the rest, if they have any principles or integrity, to jump ship.
Reprinted by permission of Harv Oberfeld. This article first appeared on Mr. Oberfeld's blog, Keeping it Real.