Premier Gordon Campbell's office: "It's Question Period, not Answer Period"

B.C. Liberal cabinet ministers are encouraged to attack the NDP Opposition in the legislature's daily  question period if they’re unable to provide answers.

A document from the premier's office, which was released to lawyers in the Basi-Virk criminal trial, states that cabinet ministers are judged in question period on their three Cs: competence, confidence, and control.

It suggests that cabinet ministers answer as best they can every time, but if they can’t, they’re advised to “ATTACK!! – NDP record, evidence of internal conflict, etc”¦”.

“It’s Question Period, not Answer Period,” the document states.

The document, called “House Review ”˜A Day in the Life’ January 2007” also points to the importance of scrums with reporters in the hallway at 3 p.m.

It suggests that it’s the NDP’s “second chance” if question period went well for the government; if question period  goes badly, it’s “our chance for clean-up”.

“The halls will NEVER be a good substitution for a good QP performance,” it states.

Public-affairs bureau staff, who are employed by the government, and Liberal MLAs work the hallways to find out what the NDP is saying and distributing.

According to the document, they can assess “mitigation techniques”, such as distributing paper to refute NDP claims or decide whether or not to bring a minister out of the house to put the government’s views forward in person.



The Blackbird

Mar 9, 2009 at 10:39am

Mobsters in makeup and sweater vests.

Don Grant

Jun 22, 2009 at 4:02pm

The state of our province is about to get much worse. This government and the one before have not looked after primary and secondary industry and the cosequences, eg the forest industry, is a tax base based on $10 an hour jobs and we will see what that buys. You people don't seem to realise where the revenues came from all these years, it does not come from tourist dollars, only very few people benifit from this source. The federal government is a good example where they have borrowed from canada pension recently to help make ends meet. The basic of all basics is you must have a product to sell or you are going down. It is late now but can be turned around by promoting the use of wood products and hard selling China and India and forget the USA as our sole source of economic help. God help us.

Keith Higgins

Dec 13, 2009 at 6:27pm

The B.C. Liberals, usually reasonably savvy when it comes to public relations, have sorely misjudged the public mind with this strategy. Every time some raises an objection to government policy -- which in our parliamentary system is done through opposition critics raising questions -- they attempt to polarize the issue by attacking the NDP. Follow this to its logical conclusion: they repeatedly argue that anyone who has a problem with any of their policies is obviously against the B.C. Liberal party in general; even though this isn't true, they force critics of specific policies to become opponents of the government; the B.C. Libs then react by digging in, and slanging opponents even more, and become entrenched in you're-either-with-us-or-against-us behaviour; and gradually they find themselves with less and less supporters, aside from some borderline insane true believers. Good work, geniuses!


Dec 14, 2009 at 9:46am

Blackbird, that's right. Don, that's just not true. BC's forestry industry is a corporate joke - we're still exporting raw logs, like any banana republic, and it's been this cavalier from the beginning. Where is the secondary/tertiary industry based on our logs? BC is caught up in archaic, old-style resource extraction (mining, forestry, now oil) because it's run by a bunch of corporate cowboys and their friends in government. On the other hand, new industries like IT, cutlure and tourism, all of them making huge gains globally in terms of GDP, are being actually hampered, cut, disincentivized by the BC Liberals. It's completely mad - they're just caught up in this last-gasp plunder what's left of the land attitude. We're the victim of BC's historical colonial resource mentality. All these politicians are just heading for mining company directorships when they retire.