On April 6, Premier Gordon Campbell visited the Georgia Straight office to discuss two topics: transportation and small business.
The B.C. Liberals are trying to present themselves in this election campaign as friends of small business. However, the Campbell government has been anything but a friend of the Georgia Straight, which is a locally owned family business.
One of the first things the premier did after being elected in 2001 was to move the public affairs bureau into his office. The public affairs bureau books government advertising.
The premier had several meetings in his office with Dennis Skulsky, a senior Canwest executive, during the first Liberal term in office. And in recent years, the B.C. government has poured a lot of advertising dollars into Canwest newspapers and television stations.
At the same time, the public affairs bureau refused to place ads for major campaigns like “The Best Place on Earth” or the “Conversation on Health” in the Georgia Straight.
I wanted to demonstrate that when the premier professes such concern for small business, his words aren’t always matched by his actions. I started the interview by using our company, the Georgia Straight, as a microcosm of the broader issue of his government’s treatment of small businesses.
It’s because I knew the details of how his government had treated our company over the past eight years.