Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Resignation of Gordon Campbell

I was not expecting this now, I had expected him to stay till the HST referendum. Interesting decision right now given all the flux there is in BC Politics.

How ever you slice it, Gordon Campbell is one of the most successful BC Premiers, he won three majorities, only WAC Bennett, Richard McBride and Bill Bennett have won three or more elections.

He will be the fourth longest serving premier shortly when he passes Liberal John Oliver in a couple of weeks.

There are things that have changed since 2001 for the better and for the worse, not all of them are his fault nor can he claim responsibility for it all. Here is my list of what happened that were successes to which Campbell can proud of.

  • The Citizen Assembly on Electoral Reform - it took courage to all the general public to address the issue.
  • Allowing open dissent from MLAs - he has not required Liberal MLAs to vote the party line but has allowed them to vote as they felt they should. The recent treatment of Blair Lekstrom and Bill Bennett only shows how far he is willing to allow criticism. Blair Lekstrom may no longer be in the government, but the separation was friendly and reasonable.
  • The Olympics - the Premier can take some real credit in having the most successful ones to date when it comes to being embraced by the people.
  • Thinking outside of the box - he tried new ideas for how things could work, some which stuck, some which did not, but there was a willingness to consider ideas.
  • Balanced budgets
  • Carbon Tax
  • Resource Revenue sharing with First Nations
  • Green energy

Yes I have some major issues with the actions of the Government.   The new Ministry of Natural Resource Operations is the latest and biggest.  The 60% bar for the STV referendum, the dissolution of the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management, the loss of rural government offices, courts and hospitals, the end of the passenger rail service to Lillooet are a laundry list of some of the issues I have had.

Ultimately he will be judged by what the premiers in the next 20 years will be like, but he sets a high bar for accomplishments though a much lower bar from personal popularity.   Time, and the premiers from 1986 to 2001, certainly has made me realize Bill Bennett was actually pretty good even if in my youth I thought he was far right wing demagogue.   Time will be kind to Campbell.   I can not think of someone that has been better premier in my life, though Harcourt comes close.

Having met him one on one quite a few times from 2000 to 2005, I wish everyone could talk with him one on one.  It is in that close personal and informal times that his passion and intelligence comes through.   I am convinced Gordon Campbell is naturally an introvert and is not really someone that wants to be in the limelight.  

Finally, everyone should keep in mind that Gordon Campbell like everyone that has been premier in BC has done so because they want to make the province a better place.
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