B.C. faces leadership crisis

While there is no question that his incompetent and cynical handling of the HST was the final straw in the Liberals forcing their leader to announce his resignation, that was but a piece of the puzzle. The bigger issue is the uncertainty his call for a referendum on the hated tax is causing the B.C. economy.

While there is no question that his incompetent and cynical handling of the HST was the final straw in the Liberals forcing their leader to announce his resignation, that was but a piece of the puzzle.

The bigger issue is the uncertainty his call for a referendum on the hated tax is causing the B.C. economy.

During his recent televised address, Gordon Campbell promised to stump the province explaining and selling the HST, something he and his party failed to do before they rammed it down our throats. In the meantime, the uncertainty continues.

At the same time, his party is stuck with trying to figure out where it will find the cash to finance Campbell’s promised 15 per cent cut in personal income taxes.

In short, B.C. cannot afford another six months of Campbell. He needs to go now and an interim leader be named, one who has no interest in contesting the leadership, like the hardworking former deputy premier Shirley Bond.

The interim leader should acknowledge the 540,000 votes confirmed by Elections B.C. in favour of scrapping the HST, and repeal the tax.

He or she should cancel plans for the personal tax cut and undo Campbell’s ham-fisted amalgamation of several key ministries on his way out the door.

If the Liberals hope to recover enough support to prevent a default NDP win by the James gang, a party with no policies and little competence, it needs to act now.

Any leadership hopeful from within the party must either repudiate their earlier support for the HST or hope the interim leader repeals it first.

Imagine a candidate trying to defend a tax that cost the boss his job?

Candidates running from outside the government like Blair Lekstrom, who bravely opposed Campbell’s tax, would do well to continue to remind voters which candidates had supported the tax.

While only delegates to the Liberal leadership convention get to select their next leader, the voters of B.C. get to choose the next premier, which is really the end game.

By repealing the HST immediately, the government restores stability to our economy, signals the Campbell era is truly over, and weans itself off the tax revenue before it becomes permanently addicted to the cash.

As for paying back the $1.6-billion bribe to Ottawa, we could just remind the feds that while Quebec has barely 20 per cent of the population of Canada, it receives 65 per cent of equalization payments amounting to billions of dollars.

Send the bill to Jean Charest.

By killing the tax, the field would then be clear for the leadership candidates to focus on new ideas and directions for B.C.

Voters may have rejected Campbell over the HST, but there is also a strong sense among British Columbians that he and his Liberal government have run out of ideas. They have become a government with no sense of direction or purpose beyond staying in power, and it shows.

In the end, this may prove more deadly to the Liberals than the HST.

An editorial from the Prince George Citizen