MacDiarmid not fooling anyone
Wrong-way Corrigan, of US football fame, has nothing on Margaret MacDiarmid.
Recently, Premier Campbell reinstated MacDiarmid as BC’s education minister, after her newly-appointed predecessor George Abbott dropped out of cabinet to run for the Liberal leadership. While this farcical situation plays out, MacDiarmid, perceived as one of the most arrogant and out-of-touch education ministers this province has ever seen, is once again fronting for the BC Liberals’ education agenda. No sooner had she returned as education minister than she was quoting the report that Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland gave to the VSB earlier this year, as evidence that the board had adequate resources to meet its needs. (If one has any doubt that the Campbell government punishes its critics and rewards its faithful, note that in the most recent cabinet shuffle, Ms. Wenezenki-Yolland landed the plum job of associate deputy minister overseeing the Environmental Assessment Office in Victoria.)
MacDiarmid is content to state, in response to the call once again from cash-strapped boards for financial relief, that the province had increased funding for schools in its most recent budget. Mercifully, it appears that she has dropped the bogus claim of “the greatest ever” per-pupil funding allocation, realizing that this line no longer has any traction with the general public.
MacDiarmid's visits with the BCTF and the superintendent of the VSB a day after being shuffled back into the education portfolio were likely motivated by an attempt to imitate the more open and affable approach of George Abbott.
Given the fact that MacDiarmid's return to the education position was mandated by political necessity (four cabinet ministers, including MacDiarmid, now carry double portfolios), her stay as education minister should be short-lived once the new premier announces his cabinet lineup in March.
Again, it will be out with the old and in with the new as BC’s education merry-go-round continues.