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BC Election 2013: How the Liberals plan to stomp the NDP

About 2 p.m. in Victoria next Tuesday, Finance Minister Mike de Jong is expected to rise in the Legislature and tell British Columbians that life, and the provincial economy, is supernaturally great.  But is this really the case?

BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong golfs
BC Liberals will kick off 2013 election with what they hope will be hole in one. In the photo above, BC Liberal Finance Minister Mike De Jong swings in a photo from his website.

About 2 p.m. in Victoria next Tuesday, Finance Minister Mike de Jong is expected to rise in the Legislature and tell British Columbians that life, and the provincial economy, is supernaturally great.

Reading from annual Budget documents endlessly tweaked by an army of public relations handlers, de Jong will look into the Legislature cameras and proudly tell B.C. residents — without laughing and five days before the annual Academy Awards ceremony — that only the provincial Liberals can be trusted with handling the peoples’ treasury.

It will, of course, be just the latest in a very long list of unbelievably weird gong shows in Victoria featuring the nuanced art of suspended disbelief. Designed to demonstrate masterly fiscal prudence in a rapidly changing world, de Jong’s cynical speech will include many earnest promises, tables of confusing figures, and seemingly endless pages of documents.

What de Jong’s questionable and fleeting celebrity status will really signal, however, is a pivotal moment in the Liberals ongoing war with the New Democratic Party over the hearts and minds of voters just 13 weeks before the next provincial election.

Liberal talking points: drive left-wing out, extinguish their memory

In essence, de Jong will be underscoring a long-held and often-applied B.C. political strategy in a sleazy last-ditch Liberal attempt to grind out another election victory: Right-wing good, smart and trustworthy; Left-wing very bad, unsophisticated and needing electoral punishment.
 
Just how did our province, so full of promise and with perhaps the best of the last of something approximating a natural environment in the world, get into this sorriest of ideological states?

Geoff Meggs and Rod Mickleburgh came up with a brutal explanation that helps explain just how much right-wing voters in B.C. despise, fear and sometimes hate the New Democrats in their recent book “The Art of the Impossible: Dave Barrett and the NDP in Power 1972-1975.”



In introducing their book, Meggs, currently a Vancouver city counsellor and formerly an aid to former premier Glen Clark, and Mickleburgh, a longtime reporter for the Globe and Mail newspaper who has laboured in the media trenches for at least 40 years, noted that former premier Barrett “broke the unstated but fundamental rule of B.C. politics . . . which states that while left-wing, even socialist parties are allowed to run in B.C. elections, they are not allowed to win.”

The authors went on to say that if a left-wing party actually did win a provincial election, the main priority for all “right-minded people” would be to remove that party from power.

“When they are driven out, the soil they grew on is to be ploughed with salt, their memory extinguished, and their term in office relegated to the realm of nightmare,” Meggs and Mickleburg wrote. “There can be no need for radical change, after all, in what until recently was known as the Best Place on Earth.”

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