British Columbians may have re-elected the Campbell administration. But they’ve never been especially fond of the premier.
It’s rumoured at least some caucus members want to see Campbell gone. And there’s dissent among the Liberals’ business backers.
So if the premier really is leaving his future up to “everybody else,” he’ll soon be packing his bags.
But if that does happen, what will it mean for the Liberals – a party whose policies in government are set by the inclement interests, associations and friendships of its leader?
Having no grassroots to speak of, the Liberals are little than more than a vessel for corporate interests and contributions.
So will that vessel, which is floundering in the polls, capsize without Premier Campbell? And if someone does succeed in righting it, what direction will the party take?
It’s the answers to these questions that could define the coming year in politics and determine the results of the 2013 election.
These few words capture and define Gordon Campbell’s Liberal Party. Despite its name, the party is not liberal. Nor is it conservative, in the traditional sense of the term, since preserving social and geographic landscapes is unimportant. As Holman states, the BC Liberal Party is a gathering of corporate and financial interests. I would go further, describing it as a thoroughly unprincipled gathering of self-interests.
The classical liberal tradition was centrally concerned with bettering the lot of the working class. The aim was to make the poor richer, not the rich poorer. Instead, Campbell leads a government that aims to make the rich richer, with no regard for the effect on poor and middle classes.
WAC Bennett believed that public development of utilities enabled financial dividends for all, throughout extended lives of the assets. That applied to electricity, healthcare, transportation and education. Bennett even threatened the monopoly telephone provider of the day when they acted outside the public interest. Today, BC consumers benefit from low cost power from dams constructed half a century ago. Our grandchildren will continue to benefit, as long as the generating capability remains public. Would the BC Liberal patrons prefer privatization à la BC Rail? Not hard to guess.
Campbell’s style has something in common with another recent business interest toady. George W Bush, early in his term, assumed that super-wealthy supporters had been sufficiently rewarded. According to Ron Suskind, Bush meekly asked his handlers:
Haven’t we already given money to rich people … Shouldn’t we be giving money to the middle?
As the U.S. President learned, the avaricious are forever hungry. Gordon Campbell knows that too.