For those of you not in BC, the title of this post is likely enigmatic. For those of you in BC, it’s likely still enigmatic — but in a different way. So, to the decoding:
Kevin Falcon is the Transport Minister in the BC Liberal Government. He is also generally Gordon Campbell’s designated “mouth”. If any BC Liberal is likely to go too far in public trashing someone else, it’ll be Falcon. Some say he only opens his mouth to change feet, but I disagree: he merely suffers from a nasty mixture of athlete’s tongue and vitriol breath.
After the by-elections last Wednesday, the BC Liberal Party held its regular get-together, this year in the large and blossoming town of V0N1V0 (to use the title of a book about the place), or Whistler. There, Falcon went on — and on — about the deficiencies of the BC NDP and its leader, Carole James. The woman, in his mind, has no claim to any experience at anything, as he dismissed out of hand her prior tenure on the Victoria School Board of Trustees, and leading the provincial Trustees’ organization. Therefore — he carries on — she has no right to hold opinions contrary to those of the BC Liberal Party, i.e. his own.
Now there is a certain amount of such miserable rhetoric that is a part of what passes in place of political discourse today, especially when the job of the speaker is to throw raw red meat at the howling lions in attendance. What prompted me to write about this, actually, is the way he carried on into this week, trashing the Governor of our neighbouring state, Alaska.
(Goodness knows, Governor Sarah Palin’s “performance” over the past two months as John McCain’s running mate didn’t exactly strike a chord of confidence in her on my part, but she does run a government of some interest to this province’s government, of which he is a part. Qui est le stupide ici? In general, it is considered bad form to want things from someone and to negotiate by insulting them, their capabilities, their intelligence, their … well, you get the idea.)
None of this, of course, is new to Falcon. And so (did you think I’d forgotten the Eminem reference?) to him I say, “Would Minister Falcon please shut up! Please shut up! Please shut up!” Slim Shady didn’t hold a candle to this liability, and Gordon Campbell should realize that sending the Mouth that Roared out there isn’t doing his Government — or his party, which faces the electors next May — any favours.
Ultimately, the BC Liberals are running on the same sort of “empty” that the Federal Liberals are. The Federal Liberals, as you may remember, have now run three elections on the meme “Stephen Harper has a hidden agenda … Stephen Harper is George Bush … Stephen Harper is dangerous”. In 2004 it worked just well enough to allow them to eke out a minority; in 2006 they lost government, and in 2008 their decline continued. The Campbell BC Liberal mantra — ably carried forward by the likes of Falcon — is “The NDP have a hidden agenda … The NDP will ruin everything … The NDP are dangerous”. But when an NDP party leader uses the Government’s own financial numbers to put forward spending alternatives, the last thing you can say is that the numbers were made up. Nevertheless, the charge has been tried, even as the Finance Minister moves the goalposts on the revenue estimates.
Yesterday — and when CKNW takes over the schedule to run six-plus hours of live US election results, complete with reporters in the field it seems clear to me at least that they believed their BC audience was paying attention to the US election — the election of Obama charted, if only for a moment, the promise of hope. That does not meld well with a negative, churlish spitting out of the same old phrases hoping to stretch yet another win out of old news. Earlier this year I wrote on the subject of respect.
If the BC Liberals want to form another government — not, mind you, that I’m saying they either should or shouldn’t at this point — they had better shape up and put a muzzle on the childishness of a Kevin Falcon (and others like him, including the Premier from time to time). Otherwise, the same dumpster that contains the Dion campaign of 2008 will need to make room for the ex-Government of BC in 2009.