Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Abbotsford News week of Jan. 03, 2005)

Wall-to-Wall Election Disinformation

John Pifer

As the New Year limps into being, British Columbians may count on one thing – a blizzard of news stories, columns, press conferences, news releases and attendant propaganda regarding the May 17th provincial general election.

The political parties themselves, corporations, trade unions, special interest groups, and we news media hounds all will participate in the song-and-dance routine, as voters are inundated with B.S. and balderdash for the next 4˝ months thanks to the bizarre decision by Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell to set fixed election dates.

By throwing out the long-standing British parliamentary system that gave the ruling party some leeway as to when to call an election during its mandate, Our Gordo boxed himself and his party into a corner, thus allowing the opposition to be better prepared for the target date. He did not need to do this; there was no public outcry demanding it; and this scribe, among many, remains mystified as to why Mr. Campbell rushed to make it law.

But, it is done; we must live with it and with the aforementioned consequences of wall-to-wall propaganda, disinformation, and yes … lies to come.

Everything that the government announces or initiates from today forward will be linked to its re-election plans – everything. Anything that casts a shadow or doubt over Mr. Campbell and the Liberals will be milked for all it is worth by the NDP and the unions that run that political party. The rest of us will chip in from the sidelines, of course, until everyone becomes even more sick and disgusted with BC politics than usual.

It is easy to predict a few things that will occur in the 2005 election run:

·   The Liberals will lose seats - many seats - perhaps as many as 40% of its 77 won in the 2001       landslide that left the New Democrats with only two.

·   Something extremely drastic will have to happen for the Liberals to lose 50% or more, and thus     relinquish power. They can afford to go down to 40 seats without breaking sweat, and untried, untested, unproven Carole James does not have the chops or the resources to do that well.

·   The NDP will continue to suggest (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) that alleged bribes in the BC Rail sell-off and Legislature police raid involved senior politicians and/or Liberal party brass. The lack of evidence or proof of it will not prevent such slurs.

·   The unions, led by the public-sector unions paid for by the taxpayers – teachers, government employees, etc. – will do anything to get the NDP elected, so that they again may wield the power they had in the decade of Harcourt, Clark and Co.

·   Sadly, the prospect of an option other than Liberal or NDP will not happen. Unity, Reform, Christian Heritage et al will field a handful of lost-cause candidates, no doubt; but they all have failed miserably in the past 3˝ years to capture the public’s imagination, or to produce a charismatic leader. A passionate concerned citizen such as Unity member Salvatore Vetro of Vancouver even proposed a NOTA Party (None of the Above), but there was not enough time or interest for it to become a reality. Pity!

So settle in for 19 weeks or so of democracy in action, dear voters of BC; but be cheered by the fact that it all will end, for a while anyway, come May 17. 

Veteran B.C. journalist/broadcaster John Pifer may be reached at


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