Global TV Wednesday reported on “a long string of PR nightmares Gordon Campbell’s Liberals faced over the first year of this current term.” Certainly it is a struggle for a politician to admit error when he has thoroughly pissed off the public and made truth a casualty of his government’s effort to explain itself.
On the anniversary of the 2009 election victory, BC Liberal Victoria correspondent Keith Baldrey, shown here with colleague Minister of Citizens’ Services Ben Stewart, talked with Campbell about the Annus Horribilis. The Premier acknowledged that HST has been a public relations disaster for both him and his Government. Campbell said, “People are very upset. They think that they were mislead. . . It came out of the blue for the public . . .”
Campbell indicated regret for Liberal strategies in the past year. He said:
“One of the disappointments is the first casualty of this discussion has been the truth. It is disappointing to see someone who’s had the opportunity to serve as premier deliberately misleading the public with regard to something like this.”
That is Gordon Campbell’s first clear admission that, having been given the opportunity to serve as premier, he has been deliberately misleading the public over HST. Sure, it has been apparent to all since the beginning but it was refreshing for Campbell to admit that finally.
Of course, it had been impossible to believe that a government that usually studies major policy options for months, within four days of the election, would reconsider its position on HST, attain Cabinet and Caucus approval and prepare position papers and briefing notes for a policy change involving billions of tax dollars. After all, if they had done that complex change of course in four days, that would have been proof of unlimited stupidity.