Politics in Supernatural British Columbia are almost as breathtaking and logic-defying as the mountain vistas and coastal scenics of the province itself. They have their dizzying heights and low-lying valleys, huge rocky sections and glaciers that move forward and fall back an inch an hour.
To hike through provincial politics is to know endless hardship and frustration, broken up by the odd awe-inspiring moment and the feeling that the view from the peak will be worth all the trouble.
The last three elected Premiers of the province have been forced to step down in scandal Bill Vander Zalm in 1991 for what the Encyclopedia of British Columbia refers to as "alleged involvement in questionable business dealings"; his successor Mike Harcourt in 1996 for the "charity bingo scandal"; and his successor Glen Clark for an RCMP "investigation of a friends application for a gambling license".
For Ujjal Dosanjh, the caretaker premier who the NDP propped up in Clarks wake, it hasnt exactly been a walk in the park. Since day one he has been under fire for everything and anything his suspicious trip to India, the provincial health crisis, his claims that his government was responsible for a $3.5 billion surplus when the real credit belongs to the skyrocketing price of oil and gas.
Now, on the eve of an election, Premier Dosanjh is on the hook for an alleged "scorched earth" policy spending every free cent on the public in a bid to get re-elected. If this doesnt work, critics say he will leave nothing but a few IOUs and dust bunnies in the provincial coffers which will handicap the succeeding government.
The Liberals, who won the popular vote the last time around, are acting like theyve already won this election. While a Liberal majority is as close to a sure thing as you can bet on in politics, its too early for politicians to be smug or cocky about the outcome. The people of B.C. are jaded and skeptical after the last roller-coaster decade and it will take some extraordinary measures and all around proof of good government to win their trust back.
Although Premier Dosanjh is cagey about the election call "Im running to win the next campaign whenever its launched and well pick and day very soon and have a campaign" well likely have a new government in place by summer.
Since a liberal victory is not a forgone conclusion and may not suit your needs, you owe it to yourself to see what the other partys are saying.
Note to Gordon Campbell: When the Liberals win the election, at least try to look surprised.