One week into the provincial election campaign and little has happened except for John Horgan’s NDP and Andrew Wilkinson’s B.C. Liberals exchanging self-inflicted wounds.
What a wretched start for Horgan.
He ripped up his coalition deal with the B.C. Greens and tried to paint his minority government as fragile and in danger of falling at any moment. Except new Greens leader Sonia Furstenau expertly played the fury of a woman scorned, stressing that at no point had she made any threat to dissolve the coalition or topple the government.
Furstenau isn’t the only woman Horgan betrayed to fluff up his political nest for this election.
Under their own party rules, the NDP was required to replace the outgoing Doug Donaldson in Stikine with either a woman or a man who is a member of the LGBTQ community, a member of a visible minority or is disabled.
Even though Annita McPhee, a well-known Tahltan leader perfectly qualified for the job, put up her hand for the nomination, Horgan just couldn’t say no his pal, the recently retired MP Nathan Cullen. Some lame excuses about McPhee not following nomination protocols later and Cullen became the chosen white man for the NDP in Stikine.
Then Horgan crossed his fingers behind his back and spent all of last week telling everyone he only decided to call an election two days before he visited the Lieutenant Governor last Monday, then rolled out a slick election video that clearly was weeks in the making.
He wrapped up the week getting schooled by Global’s Neetu Garcha during a Friday morning live interview. Instead of letting him ignore her questions and repeat his already tired campaign slogans, she firmly cut in and asked him to answer the questions.
Horgan supporters responded on social media with racist and sexist rants about an accomplished journalist doing her job. Not only is she apparently rude and disrespectful (because female journalists aren’t allowed to interrupt male politicians?) but many of them mistook Garcha for another woman of colour anchor at Global.
Great look out of the gate, B.C. NDP.
The Trump playbook is serving you so well – manipulate the process to centralize power, throw out the rules when they are inconvenient to your agenda, fabricate false narratives about why your government is under threat from all sides and launch online attacks on journalists when they have the audacity to call your leader on his BS.
But are Wilkinson and the Liberals exploiting any of this? Sadly, no.
Instead of continuing to hammer Horgan on trust and fairness, especially when he’s handing over more ammunition on an almost daily basis, the Liberals decided now was the time to unveil a half-baked plan to mess with the provincial sales tax to boost a pandemic-sickened economy.
Voter reaction was mostly head-scratching bewilderment and deafening silence.
Was there no one in the strategy room to remind Wilkinson that previous efforts by his predecessors to mess with the PST to score political points ended in nothing but tears?
It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the electorate when the two leaders most likely to form government charge out of the gate and promptly trip over their own shoelaces.