Call it the twitter effect.
After spending too much time on #bcpoli this weekend, subjecting myself to non-stop BC Liberal message development via tweet, I feel like lashing out.
Here’s my message to the BC Liberals and their fellow travellers: When you’re reduced to repeating a lie like “they all do it” in hopes of saving your own skins you not only further diminish your tarnished and worthless brand you cement in voters’ minds that the BC Liberals cannot be trusted to govern.
Sun editor Fazil Mihlar was first out the gate with the ‘they’re all bottom feeders’ defence of his buddies over at BC Liberal headquarters. He was closely followed by Liberal campaign chair Bill Bennett. Now it’s all over twitter with ministers, their staff and the Premier’s office repeating the baseless charge.
Even the Premier’s ex – he of the limp microphone joke – got in on the act retweeting various Liberal friendly articles conflating outreach with illegal info sharing and such.
Lets be clear about this: All parties, like corporations, unions, non-profits and any other half decent organization in our multi-cultural country reach out to folks who speak languages other than English and have cultural traditions other than those generally associated with old white men (who still make up the majority of elected officials) like me.
That’s a good thing. It’s right to make the effort to reach those not addressed by the mainstream. It’s right to involve all citizens in the business of governing our province.
It’s wrong to do it only out of consideration for your own electoral interests, reducing legitimate cases of wrong-doing like the head tax to a ‘quick win’ opportunity.
It’s also wrong to suggest that all parties disregard rules and laws in order to take political advantage of these issues and opportunities. The opposite is true. Only one party had taken this route. That would be the BC Liberals.
And that leads me to the fundamental Liberal problem. To make the claim over and over again that all parties do this they have to resort to a lie. But isn’t trust the fundamental issue underlying all the BC Liberal problems?
Defending a rotten strategy with a bad lie. That’s the BC Liberal MO and increasingly voters are seeing right through it.
In 2009 they said the deficit was small. They knew it was huge. They said they wouldn’t bring in the HST. They did. They said they wouldn’t sell BC Rail. They sold it – to a friend and donor. They told the public one thing and did the opposite. On and on and on it goes.
I find it interesting that for a few short weeks Christy Clark, during her leadership campaign, took a different approach, distancing herself from the Campbell record while admitting errors and proposing policies to remedy them.
She didn’t tackle the big ones. But take, for example the BC Liberal minimum wage policy. She tacitly admitted it was wrong and proposed a fix.
Looking back it seems clear that that was nothing more than a strategy. Who knows what she really believes. Still it was a strategy that worked both within the BC Liberal Party and with the public. She won the leadership and closed the polling gap.
How quickly she abandoned that, returning to the old BC Liberal way of things by jumping into the HST battle, pouring public money into a losing cause while seeing her own credibility slip away. After all this is over it will be interesting to hear what caused that about face – a caucus against her? too many lies to address? too many bodies buried carelessly?
Now Clark’s leadership honeymoon seems like a small blip in a steady, steep decline. All of it related to trust.
And as long as the Liberals keep spinning and every new revelation unveils another lie (see Pat Bell and the Prince George mess) the decline will continue no matter how many ads they run and fresh lines they tweets.