BC Liberals Leadership Affray

Life is what happens while you are making plans.

I had planned to attend the Abbotsford rally for Mike de Jong’s BC Liberal leadership race, but a commitment to 5 & 2’s Seniors cold wet weather shelter had me heading to MCC’s materials warehouse to open the shelter rather than the rally.

…….BC Liberals…….does it strike anyone else as dark, twisted humour that in pot smoking, left coast, hippie BC the ‘Liberal’ party is solidly right of center? That before the relatively recent incarnation of the BC Conservatives the Liberals were the right wing party?

During his time as Minister of Finance Mr. de Jong demonstrated he had the discipline to live within the constraints imposed by the government’s revenue. It is why I voted for him as Abbotsford West mla. That and the amazement of the Liberals doing it three years in a row without succumbing to the expediency of buying political favour with voters by ignoring the cost, particularly the long term costs, of deferring taxes by borrowing $$$$ and giving in to voters demands for government goodies that they don’t have to pay taxes for – at least not NOW.

The real question I had for Mike is whether he had understood not just the what, but the why of Christy Clark’s time as leader of the BC Liberal party.

From the point of view of a creatively maladjusted polymath Christy Clark had, over her time as Premier, faced a constant barrage from critics hurling wrongful faultfinding at her.

I am not saying that Premier Clark did not deserve censure on a number of matters but that much of the faultfinding was based on wilful denial of the realities facing the government of BC, as well as unrealistic demands and expectations from citizens and Media.

Christy Clark’s true sin was being a typical, business as usual politician and leader during a time when relentless change had pushed the economy past the tipping point and brought about fundamental economic change.

The fundamental changes in the economy have created a ‘new economy’, not simply as a handy label but an economy whose fundamental differences mean the policies and behaviours that were used, and had worked, over the past 6 decades were no longer effective.

The failure to recognize and understand this fundamental change meant the policies, actions and behaviours of the government were ineffective in stopping, much less reversing, the decline in affordability and standard of living for an ever increasing number of British Columbians.

Canadians loved the economy that emerged post WWII. Hardly surprising given that ‘the living was easy’. Nor, in light of ‘the living was easy’ is it any surprise that Canadians would have preferred that the post WWII economic conditions roll on unendingly.

Couple Canadian’s preference for an economy where ‘the living is easy’ with their well developed and practiced ability for wilful denial and you have ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ where the evil is any reality Canadians don’t want to face or deal with.

It is the prevalence of this behaviour that required a change to the rule of holes with “Stop digging” becoming the 2nd rule and “Recognizing you are in a hole” added as the 1st rule.

The economy is an important piece of the foundation on which political philosophies and ideologies are built.

As if the public’s practice of shooting the messenger, should anyone dare tell them something they do not want to hear, was not enough to have politicians telling the public what the public demands to be told [aka lie]  – or else – you have the additional disincentive to acknowledging the new reality of its threat to the political [and personal] ideology of politicians. Because a fundamental shift in the nature of the economy requires/demands a shift in political philosophies and ideologies to align those philosophies and ideologies with the new economic fundamental(s).

Stop lying to the public? Possibly…… Change personal and political philosophies and ideologies to align with an unpleasant and unwanted truth? Right after the Sun starts rising in the west.

It s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. 

Charles Darwin

Being fiscally responsible, not lowering BC’s credit rating – and thereby raising the interest rate – compounded Christy Clark’s sin of being a typical political leader – and resulted in Clark not making expensive promises the government couldn’t afford to keep. Against NDP leader John Horgan making promises of plentiful largess Clark’s financially responsible behaviour became – as labelled and trumpeted by the Media – a lackluster campaign.

So,we know Mr. de Jong understands the need for disciplined financially responsible behaviour by the BC government and that as Finance Minister he didn’t give into political expediency to buy political popularity.

But……… by the time the next scheduled election arrives the financial straightjacket imposed by Reality, the Debt and our refusal to face issues and make tough decisions will be tighter. Even tighter if the NDP continue the financially irresponsible behaviour they have started their term as the government with.

Is Mr. de Jong prepared to deal with the consequences and costs of our failure to adjust our economic policies and our behaviour coming home to roost? Is he sure he wants ro?

More importantly is Mr. de Jong capable of recognizing the fundamental changes in the economy and is he prepared to deal with those changes?

Is Mr. de Jong prepared to adjust Liberal political ideology, as uncomfortable as that may be, and make the policy changes to promote stability, ensure sustainability and maximize prosperity?

Any candidate for leadership who is looking to pursue politics as usual – Don’t.

Politics as usual will only dig the hole deeper.

Consider Christy Clark’s fate as a politics as usual leader. She got hammered because ‘the usual’ not only doesn’t work it contributes/allows the situation to worsen.

 He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
That dares not put it to the touch
To gain or lose it all.

James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose









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