To the Editor:
A program on CBC on Feb. 18 asked listeners and an expert what they thought Gordon Campbell’s legacy would be. Some opinions were complimentary, some were not.
When the BC Liberals were elected in 2001, they looked at the books turned over to them by the NDP, saw there was a $1.5 billion surplus, announced the provincial financial situation was worse that they expected and that they would implement a 15 per cent cut in income tax rates (mostly to the wealthy) in order to bring in more revenue so they could get the economy back on track and remedy the deficit situation. For the next eight years, they claimed their policies were improving everything in B.C., and when they campaigned for a third term in office at the beginning of the recession proclaimed they were the only party capable of saving B.C.
For those residents too young to know or don’t remember, the BC Liberals are a conglomeration of right-wing Social Creditors, Conservatives, Reformers and others that joined the Liberal Party in the 1990s as a way to unite the right after Gordon Wilson, the leader of the almost defunct Liberal Party, got the public’s attention as a shining star in an all-candidates debate. They got rid of him real quick. Did anyone notice that a former Campbell favourite, Bill Bennett, wanted to replace Jim Abbott as federal Conservative MP?
To return to the subject of provincial finance: In spite of income tax reductions, increases in other taxes, reductions in services to cut costs and sticking to the eternal basis of B.C.’s economic success (selling our natural resources to a world crying for them), the BC Liberals took us from a provincial debt of $31.8 billion in 2001 (according to thetyee.ca) to $60 billion in 2009, and according to Global’s Keith Baldry, Gordon Campbell’s most ardent drumbeater, an estimated $80 billion by 2013. Reelect them in 2013 and we could go for $100 billion.
Lower wages, privatizing health care, lineups for surgery, closed schools, long bus rides to other schools, union busting, a wider gap between the privileged and the have nots, and $80 billion-plus in debt are not only Gordon Campbell’s legacy for our children, but also the right-wing legacy of the BC Liberals.