I remember Mike Harcourt in a meeting sometime late in 1995, the burden lifted from his shoulders. ‘I’m taking out the trash,’ he said, ‘Feel free, load it all on a barge and I’ll tow it out to sea with me.’ (or something like that).
And he did. Glen Clark went on to a narrow win in the election as the NDP climbed out of a very big hole with Harcourt’s help.
Contrast that to the current control freak premier. He’s staying as long as he can, through a throne speech, a budget, his own special cabinet re-org and most of the HST referendum campaign.
He’s going to put his tax cut through and spend what little money is left in the kitty for a new leader. He’s going to stump hard and long for the HST – cause it’s only the sales job that’s a problem. And he’s going to keep the Basi Virk deal under the tightest wraps ever seen.
Then come June, he’s going to dump all the crap on the next leader’s desk, tell them “here’s the agenda, you run with it now” and get out of Dodge.
Could that be more different than Harcourt?
There’s a lot of talk out there about a BC Liberal saviour out there, riding in on her white horse to help all the Campbell addled survivors get re-elected. I don’t see it.
Why destroy your credibility running the show with 30 plus holdovers welded tight to the Campbell agenda? How is the white knight going to distance her or his self from Campbell, while Campbell’s still running the show?
Campbell says he’s aiming for a smooth transition. I think he’s speaking the truth. In his mind that means no big changes in substance, just style.
Good luck with that, new leader.
So, not to put too fine a point on it, I don’t see a new outsider getting much of a chance at real change. And in that context I’d sit this one out, let the electoral process take care of the deadwood, and get ready for the real fresh start in 2015 or thereabouts.
So Diane Watts or Keith Martin, I’d say build your cred. Give this one a bye and come to the rescue when you can really show your stuff.
That leaves the insiders. Here’s my rundown:
Kevin Falcon – hair victim most likely to win. Excellent organizer, cash in the bank, ideologically in line with Campbell and most of caucus. Early favourite – his chances, not the new hair.
Rich Coleman – best only video launch so far. Has a lot of iou’s in his pocket and money in the bank. Very good organizer. Is said to have Patrick Kinsella, the gambling lobbyist, on his side. Negatives – see Kinsella and gambling file.
Mike de Jong – three words: Basi Virk deal. The six million dollar man is a non-starter.
George Abbott – a liberal out of step with the right wing Tory-dominated caucus and party. Calls himself “a good foot soldier.” I think there’s a note at the bottom of the application form – “good foot soldiers need not apply.”
Mary Pollack – the female Kevin Falcon, positioning for next time, always positioning for next time.
Carole Taylor – a great new gig, tens of millions in the bank, fawning admirers. Who needs four years in opposition?
Christy Clark – wasn’t her every friend and relative summoned to testify in the BC Rail trial? I hear there are several compromising bits of evidence in the Pilothouse files and elsewhere. See Mike de Jong for reference.
Kevin Krueger – Okay, I threw that in for fun. Sue me.