Energy Minister Bill Bennett grumbles about Gordon Campbell's lack of consultation
Finally, a B.C. Liberal cabinet minister has told the truth about Premier Gordon Campbell's management style.
In an interview with the Vancouver Sun, Energy Minister Bill Bennett declared that Campbell did not consult key members of the caucus before changing cabinet ministers' responsibilities yesterday.
“It seems to me we ought to be involving every last one of our elected people in major decisions, because you always make smarter decisions when everybody’s involved," Bennett told the Sun.
As the only B.C. Liberal MLA from the Kootenays, Bennett can afford to make these comments because nobody else from the southeastern B.C. region is available to join the cabinet.
His comments echo some of the same criticism that MLA Bob Simpson levelled at NDP Leader Carole James after he was abruptly kicked out of caucus for issuing mild criticism of one of her speeches.
In B.C.'s parliamentary system, a leader with a majority has supreme authority to do almost anything he or she likes, including firing cabinet ministers, rearranging their responsibilities without consultation, and, it appears, throwing MLAs out of caucus without holding a caucus meeting.
Former NDP MLA David Chudnovsky summed up the situation in his final speech to the legislature in 2009.
"They sent us here to govern, and we don't," he said. "Everybody who works here knows that the real governing takes place in the premier's office with a few handpicked friends and advisers. That's not just this government. I'm not talking about just this government."
Chudnovsky added that MLAs in the chamber were part of a "sideshow".
"We're part of the show that results in the choice of the next premier in whose office the small group of advisers will again make the important decisions," he stated.
On October 27, Campbell will give a provincewide television address. He has been a one-man band for much of his nine years in power in Victoria, perhaps most notably during the last election campaign and in the leadup to the Vancouver Olympics.
It appears that this act is not only wearing thin on the public, it's also creating dissension within cabinet.