Why the B.C. Liberals deserve scorn and ridicule for their plan to pursue nonwhite voters

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The B.C. Liberal goofballs who hatched up a plan to woo "ethnic" voters—including citing the apology for the Komagata Maru incident as a "quick win"—are probably feeling a little foolish today.

The premier has apologized for using government resources to advance her party's prospects. The Opposition has scored a major triumph. And the B.C. NDP's slogan—change for the better—resonates like never before.

Had the B.C. Liberals established a better resumé in addressing historical injustices, they wouldn't have become such an object of ridicule.

But they went into this controversy with a fairly dismal track record.

The former premier, Gordon Campbell, had a distinctly ahistorical outlook for most of his career. As leader of the Opposition, he went to court against the treaty with the Nisga'a people. Once in power, he held a referendum on minority rights. And he scrapped the B.C. Human Rights Commission.

Then in 2004 when it came time to shuffle his cabinet, Campbell appointed 16 white men, three white women, and no visible minorities to senior positions.

The seven B.C. Liberal MLAs of South Asian descent and the three B.C. Liberal MLAs of Chinese descent didn't make it to the big show. Ida Chong, Sindi Hawkins, and Gulzar Cheema were named ministers of state, which meant they had to report to senior ministers.

Similarly, Premier Christy Clark has not developed a reputation for acknowledging the need for B.C. to come to terms with its white-supremacist history.

She's happy to speak from the stage at the annual Vaisakhi celebration and march in the annual Chinese New Year parade to show her allegiance to nonwhite communities. The last thing she wants to do is create a human-rights commission to educate the public about discrimination on the basis of race and sexual orientation. She also won't order school boards to do more to address homophobia.

I've attended many educational events focusing on miserable treatment of Chinese and Indian pioneers, which have been put on by progressives in the local Chinese and South Asian communities. I've never seen Clark at any of them, whereas NDP Leader Adrian Dix and former NDP premier Ujjal Dosanjh have shown up at several.

Dix and Dosanjh clearly want to learn more about how minority communities overcame oppression and helped build our province.

Clark, on the other hand, hasn't demonstrated nearly the same level of curiosity as an MLA, cabinet minister, and radio broadcaster.

This has created a credibility gap between the B.C. Liberals' day-to-day actions and their pre-election efforts to attract votes from nonwhite communities.

The bottom line is that the B.C. Liberals hadn't built up much goodwill in advance of screwing up so badly.

It didn't help that their actions were condemned by one of their highest profile MLAs of colour, Kash Heed.

The B.C. Liberals' biggest error wasn't their absurd plan to profit electorally by apologizing for historical wrongs.

It was ignoring those wrongs in the first place.

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21 Comments

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canali

Mar 1, 2013 at 4:49pm

while I agree the libs have messed up and are doubtless on their way out, who the hell wants the NDP in, either? look at the last bunch of clowns they had in and stupididy they pursued, ie fast ferrys etc....wish there was a real alternative.

Gary

Mar 1, 2013 at 5:41pm

Well it just goes to show what a low quality or class of people we have allowed to slither into the liberal party of B.C. Those legislature buildings in Victoria will really have to be fumigated in June. Clark still has the gall to call herself Premier when the people never voted this women in. Only the lousy liberals made her Premier and she came walking in like Moses coming to clean the temple! Its disgusting. They are all disgusting and all should be beat out of the House of the people with bats!!!!

Gary P

Mar 1, 2013 at 5:52pm

What a low quality of people we have allowed to slither into BC politics, and the liberal party. That's what you get when you allow a party to decide who will be Premier after we ran the last joker out. There should have been an election right after the people got rid of Campbell. What ever happened to people who entered politics to do what was best for the people and the Province and not get into politics just for their own personnel or political gain! If a Premier is run off their should be an election. If some joker wants to cross the floor, they should have to sit as an independent until they get elected under the party the chose to join. They should not be allowed just to slither across the floor of the house. Now we will have to pay to have the Legislature fumigated thanks to the Liberal's! What we really need in a British Columbia party which will work for the betterment of the people and the Province, and not just for the betterment of themselves and their little political gang! These guys say there sorry. For what, getting caught! It's that they even thought about trying it that is really disgusting. And they are!!

Yeesh!

Mar 1, 2013 at 6:39pm

I would just be happy if the people who posted comments could spell....

ishka

Mar 1, 2013 at 9:01pm

you'll see similar (if not more) gaffes when the NDP neophytes take over. only problem is that they will inherit a massive deficit and will more than likely stifle the growth we've seen in this province since the economic chaos in 2008.

and don't think for a minute that the NDP and their cronies won't feather their nests at the taxpayers expense. the Vision/Cope/VanCity crowd have their napkins around their necks with knives and forks in hand. pork anyone?

plus it's easy to take shots at the party in power. what are the NDP's plans? do they have any or is this just going to be an anybody-but-the-liberals campaign/election? hang it out there, Dix...lets see what you've got.

Alan Layton

Mar 1, 2013 at 9:50pm

What I dislike is the overt manipulation of the situation for more votes. Every political party targets distinct groups for votes but the way the Liberals did it here is just embarrassing and distasteful. However, having said all that, as a middle-aged white person I've been made to feel shame for both the Head Tax and Komagata Maru all of my life, even though I would never have supported either or the fact that my family moved here well after both periods. Every culture has tried to protect their identity and that's what happened here. It was driven by fear. Those times are long gone in BC and Canada. One look at the makeup of the population should tell you that. It's time to move forward for all parties involved.

cHriSTY

Mar 1, 2013 at 10:36pm

She only apologized because the BC Fiberals got caught.

Argulion

Mar 2, 2013 at 7:42am

This must be how a non-partisan negative pre-election campaign is run; some associates (CC4BC) question the integrity of another party leader while members of the Premier's office demonstrate a lack of integrity.

Although I don't agree with the potential misuse of taxpayer money, I do congratulate the Liberals on being first political party to run non-partisan pre-election campaign.

Alan Layton

Mar 2, 2013 at 8:15am

Gary P - what people are you talking about? Politicians are the same as they've always been. There has been no real dramatic shift in people and the only change has been in the degree of forced transparency. I'm sure many people enter politics with some sort of vision for the betterment of the province but you can't do very much if you aren't in power for the long term. That means getting re-elected, which takes up most of their time.

PJ

Mar 2, 2013 at 8:57am

Is there only 2 parties running??.Why not try Conservative? or there a hidden agenda?When both parties need changing (like diapers they reek after a while)try something new,cant get any worse.

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