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(Published in the Abbotsford News week of Apr. 25, 2005)

Election Week One  … or Weak One

John Pifer

In the first week of the provincial election campaign, Saturday night’s television viewing clearly defined the underlying difference between the approach to the future being taken by the governing BC Liberal Party and the union-supported New Democratic Party wannabes.

Over on CTV, the optimistic spirit of the 2010 Olympics was paraded in a song and dance spectacular, featuring professionals such as Cirque de Soleil and Lisa Brokop, while over on BCTV Global was a series of sour, dour, anti-Liberal amateurs moaning for 30 minutes in a BC Government Employees’ Union “special” that nobody watched.

It would be fair to say that both were a waste of a lot of money, but at least one felt like fun! The Liberals are cashing in on the buoyant economy and the energy of the Games, of course – just as any political party in power would.

On the other channel, the BCGEU’s campaigning for their favourite sons and daughters of the NDP added to the massive Big Union clout bubbling beneath the surface of the NDP’s election push. The BC Teachers’ Federation and the Health Employees Union, among others, are all using whatever influence they have left with their members to damn the Libs and praise the New Democrats.

That is not to doubt the sincerity of the beliefs presented by “ordinary” British Columbian working people as promoted by the ½-hour propaganda piece, but boy, was it tedious! And I do not doubt that both people who watched it were moved by it … at a cost of more than $100,000, somebody better be, eh?

The NDP’s neophyte leader Carole James keeps saying she intends to make changes on how influential the Big Unions are in controlling her party, but with these kinds of financial commitments, she may find it tough to do.

Ms. James, it is to be hoped, does NOT live up to her pledge to be as “moderate” as ex-premier Mike Harcourt, either. Trying to put on that brave “new-look” face for the party that savaged BC for a decade, Our Carole used the first week of the campaign to dump on all previous NDP administrations, let alone Liberal and Socred ones.

Please, dear voters, do not forget that Mild Mikey put on his moderate face for the ’91 election; and he then proceeded to bring in the largest over-spending and greatest taxation increases in decades, thus setting us up for his successor Glen Clark and his wasteful mismanagement of hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars.

On this one, we could do without déjà vu all over again.

* * * * *

Incidentally, as for that new international marque/logo for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, give me a break! A two-year-old with four crayons and three minutes could depict something more reflective of the spirit of Canada and Olympic sports than that ugly pile of coloured rocks. Let’s call it Pac Man meets Gumby, and you tell me whatinhell it has to do with winter sports, or British Columbia or 98% of Canada, for that matter. What a joke – talk about political correctness gone mad!

Veteran B.C. journalist/broadcaster John Pifer may be reached at jwpifer@shaw.ca.

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