For the past twenty years the BC Liberals, first under Gordon Campbell and now Christy Clark, have been issuing dire warnings to British Columbians that a vote for any part but theirs would cause massive economic pain. They have been aided and abetted in this simplistic and highly demented message by British Columbia’s conservative media.
Like George Osborne, who Larry Elliot wrote about in The Guardian yesterday, the BC Liberals attacked the poor, promised to build a “northern powerhouse” economy of their own, and made deficit-reduction a cornerstone of every election campaign. Simple messages, backed up by a simple media. Yet if we look at each of these actions have they done anything to help British Columbians in the long-term?
First the attack on the poor. In 2002 the BC Liberals cut welfare rates, closed training programs, and began requiring single mothers to start working when their children were three. They also began requiring the ability to show independence from parents for the past two years for people over 19, as if people who had been independent from their parents for only one year didn’t have crisis. So when the weird looking woman who read the questions in the debate on Wednesday night asked one about welfare rates not rising for 10 years, the reply from Ms. Clark was boilerplate neoliberal bullshit: people should just get jobs.
So you non-conformists may ask “what jobs will they be getting”? How about jobs in northern British Columbia in the oil and gas industry? Small towns in buttfuck nowhere might need skilled tradespeople. A Tim Hortons or two may open in Prince Rupert or Kitimat. The opportunities will be endless.
OK so far there is nothing. Zilch. Ms. Clark isn’t going to stop that from deluding her, the media, and British Columbians. No, she has a fantasy fund, I mean “prosperity fund” she created by raising rates for MSP and that fund will not be stopped. If we don’t have any natural gas royalties to speak of, just raise fees (not taxes though).
Since our prosperity fund has grown to over $500 million, BC must have achieved its debt-free status that was promised by Ms. Clark during the last election. Desmond Travis writes that the “province’s debt has actually grown under Premier Christy Clark by $21.5 billion, from $45.15 billion in 2010/11 to $66.666 billion in 2016/17“. I didn’t hear Ms. Mather ask anything about the debt during the last debate. I guess the debt only matters if it is the NDP who creates (when will Global start rerunning stories on the Fast Ferries?).
Ms. Clark’s tenure, from her days as Minister of Education to her time as premier, has been one marked by incompetence, lies, and shameless self-promotion. She has promised what she has not been able to deliver, while attacking those who cannot fight back. If the pathetic urchins at the corporate media continue to offer her a free ride in hopes of a job, well we can only hope that the death spiral legacy media is on speeds up.