Wednesday April 25, 2012


The Lessons of Defeat

Voters unfazed by BC Liberal use of Chuck Strahl image during election campaign

Submitted by Serious Femme, Chilliwack


hroughout the Chilliwack-Hope byelection, I kept a blog called Bay Day in Mayberry. This blog is now dormant, but will remain on the web as a document of my on-the-ground viewpoint of how all that went down. Gloating is not at all pleasant and makes those who indulge in it look less than generous so I will not indulge. I will simply say that the best candidate won and that Chilliwack-Hope is now going to be the lucky recipient of authentic, engaged public service in the name of all those who live here.

I congratulate the people of this riding for having overcome the temptation to continue believing in a government which has not only failed it, but functionally abandoned it. I further congratulate them for having seen through the candidate this government ran. While I'm sure Mr. Laurie Throness is a very nice fellow, there is nothing even vaguely "liberal" about him.  Some will claim that this is because the BC Liberal tent is capacious and welcoming of all sorts. I refute that claim. 

The BC Liberal tent, while ostensibly inclined to welcome all those who wish to stand under its billowing canvas is really quite small. It accommodates only those who either benefit from economic elitism, or underwrite it, believing this elitism may somehow benefit them eventually.

Candidate Throness was flown in from Ottawa, where he had been warmly ensconced in the business of doing the work of the Harper government.  As though this weren't odd enough, his Campaign Chairman, Mr. Chuck Strahl, is a former MP in that same government.  At times during the campaign, it seemed as though Mr. Strahl was actually the candidate.  The full page ad run during the campaign, featuring his head floating, bearded and brooding, against a black background and his signature (in white...very graphically pleasing) was not unlike a giant hockey card.  The continual use of Mr. Strahl's image was rather confusing if you were not avidly rubbernecking the proceedings. 

It rather seemed that Chairman Strahl was running for the seat, himself.  Of course, this former MP, having ridden into the sunset with his handsome pension and having installed his son as the heir to his parliamentary throne, wanted only to ensure that the seat remained in hands friendly to the Harper government.  What better way than to insert himself into the campaign of someone running for the seat in Chilliwack-Hope, where he continues to be a household name?  Name recognition is a great way to get people on your side.  It just didn't work this time.

It didn't work when they put Mr. Laurie Throness on a horse, or even on a tractor.  It didn't work when former federal Liberal candidate, Diane Janzen, inexplicably endorsed his candidacy, after being shunted to the side in his favour. All the hockey cards in the world weren't about to buy this seat for the BC Liberals (unless you were in one of either Rosedale or Ryder Lake, the only areas where Mr. Throness actually did well).  Despite the many endorsements from a rogue's gallery of Social Credit, Liberal and Conservative Party of Canada "coalitionists", it just did not work.

As to Mr. John Martin, the candidate for the BC Conservative Party, what chance did he have against the monstrous BC Liberal machine, running on the heavy fuel of massive corporate donations? While he put up a bold fight, he was caught in the BC Liberal thresher...pulled by Mr. Throness' tractor, of course.  In defeat, at least he was gracious and not "surprised", as Mr. Throness claimed to be. As Mr. Martin so eloquently said, following his concession and in response to the BC Liberals and their deafening howls of complaint about "vote splitting": "This is a democracy. Every vote is a split".

It seems, though, that the BC Liberals do not quite get the concept. As detailed in my final post to the Bad Day in Mayberry blog, they will not be appeased until they have absorbed the BC Conservative Party into their borg of governmental ineptitude and unearned entitlement. 

There is a great deal at stake for a party which has managed to shovel so much money out of public institutions into private coffers. So very much hinges on the re-election of this purported coalition, which is in truth a conglomeration of interests who seek to continue to plunder this province's resources, both fiscal and physical. There are pipelines to build, liquefied natural gas to frack out of the ground and a great deal of money to be made for an elite that is the truth behind the false construct of a coalition behind which the BC Liberals hide. 

With the Premier's office packed tight with operatives of the Harper government, there is also the Prime Minister to consider. The Premier's office and its cohort of PMO flyins is not a coalitionist manifestation of happy families making merry for the good of the people.  This manifestation of the Premier's office is, in fact, the most clear signal that the Prime Minister has taken the reins of power in the province to achieve his ends here. 

Ken Boessenkool, Dimitri Pantzatopoulos and Sara McIntyre, John Reynolds and Chuck Strahl, among others are harbingers of an intercessionist PMO which is dangerously close to publicly and brazenly driving the affairs of the province for the satisfaction of its own agenda.  What could more efficiently move the Prime Minister close to his goal of complete control than to absorb the BC Conservative Party into the BC Liberal Party? 

A simple change of name. A simple change of leader and you have the ideal means by which to the create conditions required to achieve whatever it is one might have done. A monolithic political party which consolidates as much political power and corporate money supporting the continuation of that power under one banner would provide Mr. Harper with the conditions he seeks. 

To be clear, this is not a coalition. A coalition is a group of entities under varying umbrellas which join together to work toward a common goal, while maintaining their varying interests as separate entities.  When one party simply absorbs another, slapping another coat of paint on the whole affair in a different color, this is a something other than a coalition. This is a new political party, with all interests under its aegis now constrained to adhere to the same agenda. It is one entity; a monolith. A coalition is several entities working in concert. Uniqueness is maintained in a coalition. In the proposed borg, it is denied.

Such a consolidation of power has only one end. That is the achievement of goals like the Northern Gateway pipeline. It is much more than just a pipeline that will run through a pristine rainforest (the legacy of not just all who live in BC, but that of all who live in a fragile world). It is also the sudden plant of a variety of infrastructure, not the least of which will be the facilities slated for development on almost 600 acres in Delta, extracted from the Agricultural Land Reserve. 

It is the manufacture of components for fracturing rock to extract liquefied natural gas (used in the production of bitumen, or tarsands). It is the wholesale transformation of the province of British Columbia from a steward of natural beauty and abundant resources into the terminus of a petro-state. Essentially, British Columbia will become the chute out of which certain natural resources will be pushed. (Choose your metaphor here, for I am not about to say it.)

So while it's morning in Chilliwack-Hope and Port Moody-Coquitlam (where Joe Trasolini has also been elected, for the NDP), there is a long year ahead for this province and its people. It is no longer just the malfeasance of the government in Victoria we face. It is now the vicious rabble in Ottawa, under a Prime Minister with little regard for anything resembling consensus or even consent. 

There's no time to savour victory. There is only time to lace up and start walking toward May, 2013.

This General Election is not just for control of the provincial legislature. This is a war for the future of this province and its people.  It's a war for this country, in opposition to forces that do not hold it in the same regard as the rest of us most certainly do.


Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice