My point to CKNW radio reporter Shane Woodford in the twitter exchange discussed in an earlier post was that too little attention has been paid to the reasons why public approval of BC Liberals has dropped from a high of 58% in 2001 to 31% in last night’s by-elections.
Liberals experienced this substantial drop despite unremitting support of British Columbia’s establishment, including its dominant economic forces and major media groups. The government also spent millions of public money and millions more in party funds promoting various policies and strategies. The Premier employs an unprecedented staff of minions, minders and media has-beens to supplement the Communications and Public Engagement staff placed throughout government ministries.
Liberals enlisted supports from think tanks and managers of public agencies, also from industry groups like the Chambers of Commerce, Vancouver Board of Trade, BC mining and forestry associations and, of course, the infamous ICBA of anti-NDP activist Phil Hochstein. The provincial government has had extraordinary support and cooperation from the Harper federal government and Conservative stalwarts.
So, despite near total control of the public agenda, almost unlimited financial resources and unfettered access to and sympathetic coverage from media, the Liberals have been unable to stem the ebbing tide of voter support.
Why? The answer I believe reflects exactly what John Cummins has been saying. In interviews with the CBC and The Tyee, BC’s Conservative leader says the Liberals have been abject failures in matters of both competence and integrity. He calls them a discredited organization and despite his own social and economic conservatism, selecting between Liberal or NDP in 2009, he chose to vote NDP. Faced with a choice of expedience or conscience, Cummins chose the latter. Bravo.
Independent online journalists have raised powerful questions of political larceny and fraud that remain unanswered and unresolved by the Liberals. Clark’s government, although claiming cooperation with the Auditor General, continues doing everything possible to avoid explanation or accountability over the Basi Virk settlement. They want the files destroyed and the records expunged – a self granted pardon before conviction.
Largely, the corporate media is prepared to excuse Liberal faults and ignore
suspicions accounts of fraud. As CKNW’s Friday morning pundits say, BC Rail is an old story, unlike Adrian Dix’s backdated memo of a decade earlier. Voters think differently and, delivering an unmistakable verdict, agree with John Cummins that BC Liberals are discredited. The rot is so complete that a name and costume change won’t do. The trend is clear.
top photo credit: Bob Mackin