Now Mr. Premier, hang on to your hat. Having followed the last few months of your reign, I must admit I’m becoming just a bit jaded by politics! It’s not just you sir. Many of your political cohorts and cronies have also added to the increasing level of cynicism that seems to be slowly invading my skewed view of the electoral world.
You must admit that since your recent coronation (achieved primarily by those who joined the BC branch of the Political Apathy Club during the last election), the whole thing about the HST just sort of popping into your head immediately afterwards does stretch one’s capacity to see truth as an essential component of provincial politics. Then came the pronouncement by your honourable self and Mr. Hansen that the HST is the best thing since sliced bread for business in BC. It appears that you may both have forgotten one small but significant fact – BC isn’t just about business. And even “business” apparently doesn’t completely agree with your taxing decree. This kind of arrogant pronouncement just kind of tarnishes your public image sir, and apparently lowers your standing in the polls. I believe there’s a movement to unfreeze Amor de Cosmos to see if he’d be willing to return and take over the reins. (I’m not sure about this, maybe it’s just wishful thinking.)
Because many of us tend to see government as the servant of the people rather than the dictator of public policy, it might just be a good idea to consider having a conversation with those of us who pay your salary. Radical thought I know, but then British Columbians have always been a bit off-centre and eccentric when it comes to our politics.
Now I realize these are challenging economic times, and I remain cognizant of how even you weren’t able to predict the extent of the BC deficit (even though apparently a whole lot of other people had a pretty good idea it would be a tad higher than your election statement of $495 million bucks). But Mr. Premier, some of the decisions that you and your colleagues have made since those heady times just four months ago, are having, and will continue to have, a serious economic impact on those of us who live in BC and are trying to cope with this recession in our daily lives. Beyond the imposition of the HST and the additional taxes that this will impose on all of us, there is the duplicitous 18 per cent increase of that uniquely British Columbian MSP, the increasingly gluttonous grab your economically challenged gurus are taking from the gambling money that was supposed to support community based social and arts programs, and the dollars that are not being provided to the health authorities and the boards of education. (I won’t even begin to refer to the enormous costs associated with the Olympics, the huge cost overruns at the Vancouver Conference Centre and the massive amount of money spent on the Sea-to-Sky highway that will be of benefit to a few people, sort of.) (Speaking of the Sea-to-Sky, how come it’s not a toll highway like the new Golden Ears Bridge??)
Now I realize that all these challenges can wreak havoc and cause stress on government employees, but providing a “work free zone” with a big screen TV, a pool-table, a foosball table and a ping-pong table at the offices of the Ministry of the Environment in Victoria to the tune of $138,000 this year alone is just bad optics Mr. Premier. Maybe the space could be better used as a cold weather emergency centre in Victoria, or a day care centre, or a mental health drop-in clinic.
And speaking of economics and public money, did you know Mr. Premier that BC Rail (even though it’s more or less sold) has a president who makes around a half-million dollars a year? Did you know that BC Rail has another president in charge of real estate who makes $268,000 a year? I’m also confused as to why, in these challenging times, you would increase the size of your cabinet from 22 to 24 Ministers when you know that it costs approximately $600,000 to run a Minister’s office, $220,000 for a deputy Minister’s salary, about $75,000 in ministerial travel expenses and almost $51,000 in ministerial bonus pay. Care to explain?
And now I understand your government plans on appealing the decision of the BC Supreme Court’s decision regarding your law that restricts third party election advertising at a cost estimated to be at least $200,000 just in legal fees.
Do you get some idea Mr. Premier of why a bit of cynicism has penetrated my political psyche? And by the way sir, you ain’t no Arnold Schwarzenegger!
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