Will McMartin Shoots Down Squawking Gaggle of Campbell Praisers
A 'great' premier whose fiscal skill made BC 'great' for business? The facts say no.
Is it ironic, or just plain weird, that while only nine per cent of British Columbians currently hold a positive view of Gordon Campbell, close to 100 per cent of the mainstream media remain deeply infatuated with our soon-to-be ex-premier?
Consider the editorial published in the Globe and Mail on Nov. 4, one day after the deeply unpopular premier announced that he was quitting politics. "Gordon Campbell," the Globe bleated, "will be judged as one of the great premiers of British Columbia."
Seriously? By whom? The great unwashed certainly don't hold that view, and no political historian could claim with a straight face that Campbell's accomplishments in office compare favourably to those of such provincial giants as W.A.C. Bennett, John Hart, or Richard McBride (or even Duff Pattullo or John Oliver).
Heck, even Dave Barrett (in just three and a half years) left a more substantive legislative catalogue than did Campbell (over 10 years), had a better surplus-deficit record and left a smaller taxpayer-supported-debt-to-GDP ratio (seven per cent compared to Campbell's 17 per cent).
Maybe the Globe editorialists, headquartered as they are in distant Toronto, just don't know much about B.C., our politics, or our history.
Yet, on the same day as the Globe head-scratcher appeared in print, a Vancouver Sun editorial gushed that Campbell was "one of B.C.'s great leaders." And the Sun's opinion leaders actually reside in this province. Hmmm.
Less surprising was the morning-after-resignation paean by CKNW radio talk-show host Bill Good. Reciting a list of the premier's alleged feats, Good had the gumption to include the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, which was built without a business plan and at a cost $346 million higher than B.C. taxpayers had been promised. (Original budget: $495 million. Final bill: $841.2 million.)
Remarkable. Truly, Gordon Campbell must be one of the "great" ones.
Praise, but no proof
A closer look at the encomia for Campbell from the media elites reveals that their minority view is based almost entirely on his fiscal record.
The Sun praised Campbell's "sound fiscal management," and claimed that his efforts made British Columbia "a better place to live and work." The paper also stated that he had convinced investors that B.C. was "a great place to do business." No empirical evidence was offered to support any of these assertions.
The Globe took a similar path, but made the bizarre claim that Campbell had "transformed the province's finances." Again, not a jot nor a tittle of empirical proof was provided.
As for Good, he repeated the hoary myth that Campbell "took over a province that had achieved 'have-not' status under the NDP" and then restored it to greatness.
It actually is shocking how loathe are the mainstream media to undertake even a minimal amount of research -- especially when so much of B.C.'s fiscal information is readily available online or in public libraries. Would it have been so very difficult for the Globe, Sun or Good to spend even a few minutes analyzing Campbell's fiscal accomplishments before declaring that he belongs in the pantheon of B.C. "greats"?
Read the entire article with facts and figures Here at the Tyee