Here. If I give you a few extra bucks promise you won't phone my house. (The link is to the corrected version of Campbell's TV address on 27 October)
That was the message from the leader of a provincial government awash in the sewage of scandal. I will give you $136 if you just shut up and go away. Unless you're one of those higher-priced types. Here's even more. Just don't call me at home.
I didn't see Campbell's speech. I've read it several times. It is no more or less than the condescending offer of a "John" attempting to buy cover for actions he didn't expect to be discovered. The reaction to a direct threat of exposure.
While we're all infuriated with the way the HST was simply foisted on us, not only without warning, but after being assured that it wasn't going to happen, Campbell's little offer of a few bucks to keep our fingers off the phone buttons is a blatant insult. He's trying to buy his survival.
The BC Rail scandal won't go away. As one newspaper put it, the trial which lasted longer than the 2nd World War was a disgrace. There is distinct stench of corruption which extends much further than the two convicted criminals in the BC Rail case. From the beginning, there has been government interference, including that of Campbell and his cabinet, in an attempt to obstruct and camouflage. Given the energy politicians expended to cover things up any reasonable person would speculate that Campbell and his closest caporegimes had something very dirty to hide. And what's worse, after seven years, 18 million bucks and suggestions of a buy off, one of the fall guys can't even live with the kiss he was given as a sentence.
But that speech.
Campbell trotted out his deprived childhood. See, I was a poor kid, so I know what it's like. Except that Campbell doesn't know. His mother shielded him from that, and a 21st Century single mother is only too happy to point that out. Not to mention that if, when Campbell was a kid, there had a been a premier and a government like that which Campbell runs today, it would have been working furiously to eliminate her taxpayer funded position and reduce her to a near-minimum-wage job.
If anything says "desperation" however, it is the announcement itself. The premier of a province announces a something usually left to the finance minister at budget time. That would be February 2011. So, five months before his finance minister can produce the annual economic plan for government, the premier takes money from the chest and offers it up... if you'll just keep quiet about.... everything. Please don't ruin my life by phoning my house.
It was the concluding statement, however, which sealed it. Campbell is scrambling for one reason and he made it clear as he faded to black. When he said he had "learned a lot" and described the power of British Columbians working together and and focusing on an objective, he didn't mention that the initiative campaign to repeal the HST was the ultimate demonstration of that resolute power. No, he said it was the 2010 winter Olympics.
He doesn't want you to phone his house. If you do, you'll upset the legacy he thinks he's built for himself. He wants to be remembered as the premier who brought the Olympic games to BC; not the one who was surrounded by corruption scandals, angry grass roots initiative campaigns and voter-led recall rebellions.
Call him. And rip his chosen legacy to shreds. Because Campbell clearly doesn't care about you, about the economy of the province or grade 4 students. He cares only about his red-mittened self.