Photo: Darryl Dyck, Reuters
Adrian MacNair, National Post, August 10, 2010.
The B.C. Liberal Party won its third consecutive majority government in an election only a short 15 months ago, garnering 49 seats in the Victoria Legislature with a popular vote of 46%. In that election the B.C. NDP came in second with 42% of the popular vote, giving them 35 seats, but ultimately no ability to control any legislation being passed by the governing Liberals.
Though the NDP were powerless to stop the passage of the Harmonized Sales Tax into law in early May, several polls have shown that as many of four out of five British Columbians do not like the tax, and it has hurt the Liberal Party badly. What a difference 15 months can make.
A new Angus Reid poll conducted for the Vancouver Sun, took a random sampling of 800 British Columbians in July, and asked what party they would support if an election were held tomorrow. Liberal support has tumbled to 27%, nearly 20 points below their previous electoral result, while the NDP has surged to 48%. Even the Green Party and the B.C. Conservative Party have picked up momentum on the raw and visceral dislike for the HST, improving to 13% and 6%, respectively.
The poll also asked the hypothetical question of whether they would still support the same choices if embattled Premier Gordon Campbell, whose approval rating was 28% according to a poll conducted by The Mustel Group in May, were to resign and a new leader take his place.
This is significant, since it means that not only is Mr.Campbell damaged goods for the party, but he has done perhaps irreparable damage to the party itself. Even tossing the party leader overboard may not be enough to save the ship at this point.
The Liberals have shown surprising resiliency over their nine years in power, despite numerous scandals, controversies and bad press. The implementation of the carbon tax in 2008, for instance, at a time when gasoline prices were at a historic high worldwide, was not enough to remove them from power...
When it was revealed a few short months after the 2009 election that Premier Campbell’s lowball estimate of a $495-million deficit “max” was actually $2.7-billion, the leader took a huge hit on his credibility. And when it was announced that the province would be receiving a $1.6-billion “transitional” payment from Ottawa that was factored into the projected deficit, many critics called this the “Fudge-it Budget 2,” after the former NDP premier Glen Clark.
Now, 14 years later, it is Gordon Campbell who is under pressure to resign for the good of the party, following his own Fudge-It Budget. But it must be said that support for the leader has evaporated mostly because of his obstinate refusal to back down from the HST, despite a grassroots petition initiative to repeal it that secured 700,000 signatures between April and July. The HST, which has been characterized as a $2-billion tax shift from corporations to consumers even by former finance minister Carole Taylor, has shown early signs of damaging the rebounding B.C. real estate market.
The Angus Reid poll shows that in a breakdown of results by region, gender, age and income, the Liberals trail the NDP in every category but one: those who earn over $100,000 a year still support the Liberals by a margin of two percentage points.**********************
The party and current posse are so tainted and there are so many skeletons falling out of the closets, it's gotta be regime change, or the Liberals will truly become the Socreds. It's the slowest falling upon the sword ever - year after year. Scandal, mismanagement and controversy, with so much more sure to come. You can only plug a hole in a dam for so long. And we here on the street, the vanquished, so to speak, are being taxed out of a decent life, with BC's resources and assets being given to the Corporation as plunder for the victors.