Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Similkameen Spotlight week of Apr. 11, 2005)

Hit The Highway Harry

  By John Martin

Once again, British Columbians are about to be confronted with a provincial election offering little in the way of inspiration.  On one hand, we have the BC Liberals.  True, they have been relatively competent in the important areas and have remarkably reversed a horrific provincial economy that was left devastated by a corrupt and inept NDP administration.  Still, they have backtracked and flip flopped far too often.  Their cowardly decision to back away from privatizing the liquor stores after encouraging investors to open retail outlets was scandalous.

More problematic, the Liberals are led by the unpopular and less than honest Gordon Campbell.  Campbell is one of these people that no matter how hard he tries, you just come away not liking the guy.  But damn, he mixes a mean martini.  And with Gordo, you can always leave the driving to him.

On the other hand we have the laughable NDP led by a former school trustee.  I doubt that one in a hundred British Columbians could pick Carole James out of a police line-up.  Which is exactly where most NDPers ought to be, given that that their sole reason for being is thievery.

All we really know about Carole James is that she wants to raise taxes on productive citizens and increase benefits for the unproductive.  Nothing surprising there.  Socialists have always considered it their place to steal from one segment of society and spread the booty among their friends and fellow freeloaders.

The discouraging thing about this election is that the Liberals deserve to be reprimanded and punished.  Unfortunately, the only way to do so is to elect a significant contingency of NDPers.  Shudder the thought.

So, assuming it’s inevitable that a handful of socialists will be elected on May 17th resulting in a reduced Liberal majority, residents of the Yale-Lillooet riding in particular are advised to think long and hard about their options.

Consider the NDP retread candidate, Harry Lali. The former cabinet minister recently wrote an article in the Indo-Canadian Voice newspaper.  His comments were so offensive, that had a Caucasian uttered them, he would rightly be assumed a member of the Aryan Nations.

Lali personally attacked Burnaby-Edmonds MLA, Patty Sahota, saying she “has completely abrogated her responsibility to her race.”  He then extended the comment to include the other six Indo-Canadians in the Liberal caucus.  Lali is still of a mind that Indo-Canadians in government should be solely consumed with helping Indo-Canadians.  His words are ignorant, insulting and dangerous.  What’s his campaign slogan going to be?  “Vote for me so I can serve my race”?

The Indo-Canadian community has enough problems with gang warfare, recent media coverage of honour killings and now the fall-out of the Air India verdict.  Many leaders in this community are going to great efforts to address youth violence and other urgent issues.  The last thing they need is a race mongering Harry Lali insisting that Indo-Canadians in public life should be single-issue politicians that take care of their “race”.  The notion that visible minority politicians must demonstrate a clan-based loyalty rather than serve the greater community is nothing short of perverse.

Harry Lali is exactly the kind of offensive, divisive, racially obsessed, loose cannon that no political party should have room for.  So what did Carole James do in response to Harry’s rant?  Nothing.  Until continuing media and public pressure forced her to ask Lali to apologize.  He eventually did so – in an insincere, half-hearted manner.  Had she ordered him out of the party and refused to sign his nomination papers, James would have earned instant respect across the province.  Her inaction speaks volumes.

The NDP have always pretended they are the party committed to fighting racism and promoting tolerance.  Saying this with a straight face these days must be quite the feat.  And as far as being the party of diversity, the NDP lags far behind the BC Liberals in fielding female and visible minority candidates.  Lots of labour union leaders running though. A whole whack of ‘em.

British Columbia no doubt could stand a few less under-achieving Liberal backbenchers in another Gordon Campbell led government.  A handful of hard working opposition members like Jenny Kwan would clearly be good for democracy.  So long as they stand absolutely no chance of forming government.

But Yale-Lillooet and the rest of B.C. certainly don’t need Harry Lali.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at

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