Opinion » Editorial


Glen Clark’s response to criticism from some municipal politicians about the province’s plan to take money from Forest Renewal B.C.: "I think the mayors, many of whom opposed Forest Renewal, are really just playing politics." That’s rich, coming from the premier who announced a freeze on ICBC rates and tuition fees during the provincial election, campaigned on a promise a day, assured everyone the budget would balance, and now — less than four months after the election — has to cut spending by $750 million on top of taking up to $500 million out of the "untouchable" Forest Renewal B.C. fund. Playing politics. Glen Clark is the master. Either Clark and his government had the biggest fudge factory in the world going in Finance or they are completely incompetent. It doesn’t much matter now. Doctors’ fees were cut this week. B.C. Ferry Corporation is sinking in red ink, despite an overall increase in tourism for the South Coast and Vancouver Island. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Playing politics. After blasting the Liberals for their proposed $750 million cut in spending during the election, every announcement from the NDP government since the election has been preceded by the phrase "in response to British Columbians’ concerns about the cost of government..." But last week’s "pleasant surprise" that the FRBC board had decided to transfer money to government coffers took the biscuit. When the FRBC fund was created in 1994 then Forest Minister Dan Miller said: "There won’t be a politician next week, next month, next year or 20 years from now who will dare to put their hands into that pocket of money." Obviously he didn’t know Glen Clark as well as he thought he did. FRBC Chair Roger Stanyer writes on the next page that the decision to transfer money to the government was an independent board decision; the government didn’t ask for the money. Sure. While the government-appointed board members scratched their heads over what to do with all this money they couldn’t possibly spend they probably considered investing it in time share units in Florida, Vancouver stock promotions and promising treatments for hair restoration, until someone finally jumped up and suggested they just give it to the government. Playing politics. Can anyone keep up with the man?