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Campaigns heating up
The campaign for B.C. entered new territory last week with candidates trading barbs and protesters getting into the picture.
To start out the week, Premier Gordon Campbell has been accused by the NDP of deliberately keeping a low profile, running a "boy in the bubble" campaign where he has been isolated from the public and only appears at staged events. The NDP believe that is because the Liberal Party is popular, while the premier is not.
Still, why he has only played to party faithful thus far in his campaign, his remarks are finding their way into the media, and its clear that the gloves are off. At the launch of his campaign he called his main competition "hacks" "They have a team of failed NDP cabinet ministers and MLAs, big labour bosses and hacks."
While he is on the offensive, its clear that as the incumbent Campbell and his government are in for a rough ride from the other parties.
Thats partly the Liberal Partys own fault.
On Tuesday Campbell admitted that salaries and severance packages for MLAs could be raised again if the Liberals win the election. Campbell said he would ask an independent group to look into the issue, but believes higher salaries are crucial to attract talented people from the private sector.
On the same day the NDP alleged that the Liberal Party was engaged in illegal fundraising by using provincial money to promote the party. Specifically, it was charged that legislative letterhead was used to draw municipal officials in Kitimat to a conference, but once at the conference the attendees were asked to make their cheques out to the B.C. Liberal Party.
The B.C. Liberal Party acted quickly, returning the money. The head of the Skeena Liberal constituency has also resigned over the issue.
Campbell also sought to win over disgruntled public servants by promising to end the wage freeze that has been in place for the past three years. According to Campbell the freeze was a temporary measure to help get the province back on its feet financially.
The B.C. Government and Service Employees Union is actively campaigning against the B.C. Liberals, even producing a half hour television show to drive the point home.
The Green Party scored points on northern Vancouver Island this week, after visiting the area and suggesting that plans to build a gas-powered electrical plant on Duke Point should be scrapped. The plant is now being reviewed by B.C. Hydro after an appeal by concerned citizens and industry.