Assume that Premier Gordon Campbell will seek reelection in 2013

Politicians rarely exit voluntarily. In most cases, they're driven out by declining popularity, scandals, or health concerns.

This morning, I heard former NDP cabinet minister Moe Sihota explain why he thought Premier Gordon Campbell will step down after the 2010 Olympics. Sihota, one of the few politicians to leave voluntarily, said he could tell by Campbell's body language that he won't seek reelection.

I disagree. I think Campbell is one of those politicians who will never leave unless the voters force him out or if some unexpected surprise—such as the court case involving former B.C. Liberal political aides—blows up in his face.

Campbell is a workaholic who probably wouldn't know what to do with his time if he wasn't a politician. He has trouble delegating authority to his cabinet ministers. He hogs the limelight for most major government announcements. He ran a reelection campaign that revolved solely  around his leadership.

I'm tempted to call it the cult-of-personality campaign except I'm not sure that Campbell really has much of a personality.

It's not as if he hasn't  attempted to develop one. This year, Campbell has tried to morph into a friendly grandfather who's looking out for future generations at the same time he's selling off B.C. rivers and presiding over a growing gap between rich and poor in this province.

In the recent election campaign, he has strengthened one of his weak spots by recruiting several capable female candidates who got elected.

The NDP is going to have to regroup after losing its third straight campaign, and faces a potentially divisive leadership campaign.

If NDP Leader Carole James doesn't step down, then the knives will be out, which will undermine party unity going into the next election.

Meanwhile, the Greens have proven to be useful allies to the B.C. Liberals. And the Greens show no sign of wanting to withdraw from provincial politics.

Given all of these realities, why would Campbell want to retire? To spend time with his grandchildren? That's the type of talk we hear from politicians who are on the verge of losing elections, and not from those who've just won their third straight majority government.

Campbell also loves meeting celebrities like Arnold Schwarzennegger and the Dalai Lama, and that's far less likely to occur if he decides to retire.  

Keep in mind that Jean Chretien didn't leave voluntarily. He was pushed out by members of his own party.

Brian Mulroney didn't leave voluntarily. He had no alternative because his poll numbers were so rotten. The same was true for Glen Clark and  Mike Harcourt.

George Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan, and Paul Martin didn't quit because they  suddenly became  senior citizens.

There have been B.C. Liberal politicians in the past who might have thought if they hung around long enough, they could have a  shot at becoming premier. Campbell has proven all of them wrong.  

Gary Collins, Geoff Plant, Christy Clark, Carole Taylor, and Rich Coleman all know by now that Campbell's not the type of politician who leaves office willingly.

We're stuck with Gordo whether we like it or not. And if the NDP assumes otherwise and focuses more attention on Campbell's lieutenants—like Colin Hansen and Kevin Falcon—the Opposition could be making a big mistake.

My bet is the only way we'll see the backside of Gordo is if the public tunes out the mainstream media and votes him out of office. The next chance will be in 2013.


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May 13, 2009 at 12:25pm

How will the Gordo spin double the power rates from 100 billion or so in IPP purchases at 12 cents a kwh when the spot price remains in the 2 cent a kwh range and everybody else is buying Nukes and southwest desert solar in the 2 cent range.

No doubt Jerry Scott would find a way to screw that up too.


May 13, 2009 at 6:54pm

How Gordo will exit is one thing, the more interesting question is what will happen to Carole James?

Who will be the first to go gunning for her? The union leaders, or the environmentalists?

She's failed to win government twice, and her ability to lead an effective opposition has been questionable at the best of times.


May 13, 2009 at 7:11pm

There's a mile long lineup of Gordos to take his place. And judging by the voter turnout, Gordo will probably be the only one voting in 2013.

Evil Eye

May 13, 2009 at 8:04pm

Charlie, will there be a mainstream media in 2013?

Hawaiian policeman

May 18, 2009 at 10:04pm

Is this the same Gordon Campbell that I busted for a DUI a few years ago?
He better not show his skinny white ass around here again.

Good Point Charlie

Aug 28, 2009 at 2:38pm

Campbell will not step down, he will have to be forced or pushed. But things of late have gotten a little more interesting as public gets to see the Liberal's negative headlines. Does that mean the paper is to negative? As I'm still getting a kick out of the last campaign which the NDP would have won given the people of BC were priviledged to the truth. Something foreign to this government and the people of BC as makes plan on a mad man's pipe dreams.
What happened to the new era of BC under Liberals rule? Is it all bright and bubbly and warm and flowing with cash as even the smallest child is left with hope for the future? Not in BC thats for sure as in truth their are to many BC children who believe they would be better off dead. Isn't that something to be proud of as voters know conditions are the worst for those without a voice, are left sobbing in tears. Its the norm.


Sep 2, 2009 at 1:13am

three times the charm,

It would be hilarious if he decided to run for Prime Minister after this.