Campbell.Gordon

Timorous terrier

We’ve all seen a fainthearted hockey player who demonstrates an ornery streak after teammates arrive to restrain and protect. Once safe, the mock tough guy shouts impolite words, words he would not dare speak moments before.

Vaughn Palmer is like that. He’s back at the legislature after a quiet summer giving after-dinner speeches or doing whatever political writers do with non-working days. Spring time was more onerous; there was a government to elect, private power schemes to promote, cults to belittle and a railway scandal to ignore.

August 27, the Vancouver Sun’s featured columnist gave us a somewhat critical review of the BC Liberals. He acknowledges that Campbell has taken a blow to his credibility but Palmer avoids using harsh words such as lie, deceit, deception, distortion, falsehood or similar.

No doubt, it had not been easy for Palmer to depart from the path of political righteousness but here are examples:

Thus, by the Liberals’ own account, their entire third term will be consumed with cleaning up a mess of deficits and debt that was (to hear them tell it before they took office) unthinkable under the firm, fiscally conservative leadership of Gordon Campbell.

The Liberals can’t claim any kind of mandate from the voters for their pending effort to revise the budget, nor for their farcical re-rewrite of the balanced budget law. On the contrary. They insisted throughout the campaign that it was two deficits max and no chance of a multi-billion dollar overrun or any major cuts in program spending.

But there are plenty of HST-related matters for the Opposition this fall, most notably the government’s ducking of questions about the impact on consumers, who’ll pay much more in sales taxes as business pays considerably less.

Best estimates suggest the shift will be somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion a year, a hard sell, particularly for an administration that rode to power on a promise of tax-cutting, not tax-boosting.

However, again I prefer the consistent political analysis of Paul Willcocks. He relates the situation in a way that shows he is Paying attention.

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