Well, welcome to 2009 Mr. Premier! Just think, 2010 is next, and I’ve got some sense of how important the upcoming Olympic games are to you.
So I was pondering how best to assist you in putting together a few New Year’s resolutions, and thought the best way to help was to give you some goals for the next twelve months until the blessed Olympic events creep into your vision and fill it completely leaving most other issues out of focus – should you still be Premier, that is.
Assuming that you’re familiar with the stories of the Greek gods of Mount Olympus, you’ll recall that following his temporary insanity, Hercules was given twelve labours to make amends for his bad behaviour by the god Apollo. So here are twelve suggestions for pre-Olympic challenges (one for each month) that, while not Herculean or requiring the intervention of the gods, would give you a medal or two in my book – and not necessarily one of those phoney gold medals with your name on it that you were handing out to construction workers:
• eliminate BC’s dubious reputation of leading the country in child poverty for the fifth consecutive year (do you actually get what this statistic means?)
• with the wisdom of Zeus, turf out that despicable MSP thing and return those dollars to their rightful owners, the citizens of BC (the rulers of all the other provincial realms have taken this approach)
• raise the minimum wage to a living wage (the gods would be pleased)
• quit pretending the great temple to the gods of the corporations (the Vancouver Conference Centre) isn’t really seriously over budget
• throw some significant money into BC’s universities (Plato and Aristotle would be delighted)
• continue on with subsidizing BCF as you did for December and January so that the service remains affordable to the 20% of the population that depends on it (or alternately, put really huge toll charges on the Lion’s Gate and the Second Narrows bridges just to be fair and see how well that goes over!)
• promise not to sell off any more of BC’s properties or crown corporations like BC Rail or BC Gas (once they’re gone, they’re gone!)
• stop calling for an end to the moratorium on off-shore oil exploration – hardly the “green” approach that you claim to support
• re-think that carbon tax approach – it’s about as revenue neutral as the GST
• consider answering more than one question in the next sitting of the Legislature (even the gods occasionally explained themselves to mere mortals)
• stop privatizing rivers and streams across BC – they are our heritage, not real estate for you to auction off (besides, Poseidon would not be pleased)
• take back those outrageous pay raises to your top deputies and funnel those dollars into supporting food banks or solutions for homelessness.
As I think of it, there are many interesting parallels to the current political situation in BC and the stories of the Greek gods. There’s the tale of Icarus who, in an attempt to escape the Labyrinth on Crete, had wings fashioned out of feathers and wax. He was warned not to fly too close to the sun because the wax would melt, but in his arrogance, he disregarded this warning and his wings melted and he fell into the sea and drowned.
So Mr. Premier, I hope these few suggestions are helpful as you manoeuvre your way toward the May election. Perhaps studying the subtexts of the myths of the gods will provide some chance for reflection and offer some insight into the challenges that face all British Columbians in these rather difficult and anxious times. Even the gods paid attention to the daily activities and struggles faced by the mortals who inhabited the country at the base of Mount Olympus.
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