VICTORIA – When David Stockell got the green light from B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bryan Williams to file a class action suit against the NDP for alleged fraudulent pre-election claims, Premier Glen Clark said in so many words he was looking forward to beating up on the Kelowna printer in court.
Stockell is the guy who felt that he was had by the NDP’s election promise of a balanced budget. He’s pretty sure the premier knew very well that he couldn’t deliver a balanced budget, so he lied to the public to get the NDP elected for a second term
Well, the premier may have been ecstatic about the forthcoming court scrap, but Brian Gardiner, provincial secretary of the B.C. New Democratic Party, is less than thrilled about it.
In a three-page letter to NDP members, old Brian shows himself a bit of a whiner. Appealing to NDP supporters for "immediate help," financial that is, Gardiner accuses opponents of refusing to accept the defeat voters handed them in the last election.
"They are going to extreme ends, taking an obviously partisan case to the courts to try to win from a judge the victory B.C. voters denied them."
God forbid that anyone except the NDP become partisan. Why, we would end up with political politics, which as W.A.C. Bennett said, is the worst kind.
Gardiner also goes on at length about the evils of recall legislation, which "other outside interests" are using to "try to defeat our MLAs and install the Liberals in government."
Brian, my boy, I’m one of the few British Columbians who has a right to call the Recall and Initiative Act one of the most stupid pieces of legislation ever introduced, because I called it that even when it was put before voters for their opinion.
You, of all people, have no right to whine about it, because it was your party that brought it in, not because it considered recall another step along the road of evolutionary democracy, but because it was politically expedient.
Much as been said about whether the legislation was meant to give voters chance to recall an MLA for gross misconduct or as little as a perception that he or she isn’t really representing the interests of the constituents. I’ve got a bucket of e-mail letters, explaining just why Helmut Giesbrecht and Paul Ramsey should be recalled.
As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter. Recall is a stupid idea. That’s my story and I’m going to stick by it, no matter how many letters I get trying to convince me that it’s the best thing since the king stopped beheading members of parliament.
I’m quite content to use regular elections to voice my opinion on the conduct and performance of my MLA and the government. That system has served us just fine and will continue to do so.
That isn’t to say I support Brian Gardiner and his crew who are now desperately trying to fend off the recall threat, and want money from NDP supporters to do so.
I believe it would be very interesting to see the recall initiative succeed, because from that moment on, politics in British Columbia, which is already a blood sport, would be elevated to new heights.
Those who now live by the sword would surely die by the sword. If Giesbrecht and Ramsey are recalled, the NDP’s slim majority will be down the tube and a general election will almost certainly follow soon.
Assuming that the Liberals win that election, a whole squadron of their members would stare their own recall in the face 18 months after the election. And it would serve them right.
Recall should never have been introduced. Once introduced it should never have been invoked. Now that it has, there’s little chance to get rid of it. The ultimate problem with the legislation is that only extraordinary courage or naked fear could prompt any government to scrap it.
It sure feels good to be able to say, I told you so.