|Campbell and David McLean|
Yes, there were favours and benefits owed to important backers at the beginning. BC Rail, for example, was to be delivered to David McLean of CNR, regardless of prior public statements. However, Campbell's broad initial objectives were largely worthwhile and in accordance with the clear and concise guiding principles his party published.
Slowly, the man altered. The circle of insiders grew larger but tightened. Rewards for loyal team members became paramount and wealth allowed them rose extravagantly. Policies were shaped for the advantage of a favoured few. Campbell's circle tolerated little dissent from the "official view" and talking points issued at the centre became the only acceptable messages, even for lowly ministry staff.
Eventually, the leadership group's isolation and arrogance became too much to ignore inside the BC Liberal Party. HST was merely a symptom of the developed disease. It was contrary to established policy, a path chosen without consultation or prior notice. The extent of public assets being distributed without value to future generations shocked Liberal MLAs as did the degrading of their status as voters' representatives. The boss expected elected members to mirror the same talking points given to all; original thought was hindered, made unwelcome. Buffoons were exalted, thoughtful contributors dismissed.
Short sittings and the absence of an effective committee system in Victoria results in a paucity of meaningful work for government backbenchers. Despite 6-figure salaries and generous pension benefits (the government contribution exceeds 36%), some members of the legislature continue their regular careers. These people are public resources wasted.
Were the status of MLAs to be elevated and their duties enlarged, the public would receive more effective oversight of government activity and a better balance between partisan and consensual activities. We already pay for that kind of attention, we must demand it be delivered.
Recommend this post