I’ve been trying to resist the urge to comment on B.C. politics and policy from Honduras, but habits die hard. I’m still checking the B.C. papers from time to time.
And I wonder what Liberal party members are thinking about their government’s self-destructive ways?
Jonathan Fowlie reported in the Sun on the government’s 19-month fight to keep the botched advertising flyer it created and printed to sell the HST secret.
The 10-page pamphlet went through multiple drafts and cost taxpayers a bundle to create.
The government paid $780,000 to print a copy for every household in the province. And then the Liberals changed their minds and ordered the flyers trucked to a shredder. It was a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money.
Then the government compounded the bungle. The Sun applied for a copy of the flyer under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act in June 2010. Since then, the Liberal government has been stalling and fighting to keep the flyer - which it planned to mail to every household in the province - secret. It was “advice to cabinet,” and exempted from FOI laws, the Liberals said.
That’s stupid. Cabinet approved the flyer. It was printed. You don’t print 780,000 copies of a memo offering advice to cabinet.
The government stonewalled through mediation and coughed up the flyer on the eve of a formal hearing on the FOI request.
Leave aside the fact the Liberals, including current leader Christy Clark campaigned on a promise to be open and accountable, and consider the results of this dumb attempt at secrecy.
- The image of the government as secretive and unaccountable was reinforced.
- The government’s attempt to thwart FOI legislation suggested the Liberals consider themselves above the law.
- The attempted cover-up meant the issue, instead of being dealt with in 2010, made headlines this month. That reminded people once again of their anger over the dishonest attempts to sell the HST. It brought the issue to the forefront much closer to the coming election.
- And it meant that Christy Clark had to carry responsibility for the attempt to keep the flyer from the public, since she continued the fight to avoid accountability.
The Liberals’ political opponents welcome the self-inflicted wounds
But the party’s supporters should be having serious doubts about the competence - and integrity - of the people who are supposed to lead them into the next election.
Disappointed supporters don't contribute to the party, financially or as volunteers. Sometimes, they don't even vote. And when there is an alternative, like the provincial Conservatives, they have a ready way to show their chagrin with the bumbling and arrogance of the people they counted on for better government.