Former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm’s take on the province's fractured right

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      Former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm has never been shy about sharing his opinions. So when the Georgia Straight sought him out to ask what he thinks of the two top figures on the fractured right, the ex–Social Credit leader obliged.

      According to Vander Zalm, although B.C. Liberal premier Christy Clark missed a golden opportunity to score votes early in her term, it’s not too late for her to make three game-changing moves.

      “If on the day she was chosen, she had announced that the HST [harmonized sales tax] was coming to an immediate end, that the smart meters were a matter of choice, and that [information related to] the B.C. Rail thing would all be released and made public, if she had done that on Day 1, she would have been elected with the biggest majority ever,” Vander Zalm said in a phone interview. “She might still do something quickly. But if she carries on kind of holding things back and slowing it up and [is] basically a repeat of Gordon Campbell, then it won’t work.”

      While the B.C. NDP has built a good lead ahead of the ruling party in the polls, the ex-Socred premier believes that by bringing in the three measures he identified, Clark could “certainly close the gap”.

      With respect to John Cummins, leader of the B.C. Conservative Party, Vander Zalm didn’t sound enthusiastic.

      “The big problem that John has is that people don’t see enough of a difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals, which is why they’re talking about an alliance,” Vander Zalm said. “And John Cummins supported the HST, and that didn’t help. And I didn’t hear much about smart meters. So John’s gotta get on with some of those issues that would separate him from the other side. Otherwise, it’s one of the same pot.”



      Arthur Vandelay

      May 3, 2012 at 9:06am

      I assume to be fair and balanced, you are going to stick a mike in Glen Clark's face and ask for his opinions on what Dix can do to improve things for the NDP? Classic GS bait and switch move, link current political enemies with infamous ones of the past or other realms. Zalm is so self-obsessed that he happily plays along. Even W. Bush isn’t that stupid.

      Barney Fife

      May 3, 2012 at 9:44am

      Christy, when will the HST rebate checks be arriving to the BC taxpayers' doors?

      Alan Forseth

      May 3, 2012 at 10:23am

      Bill has obviously been missing out on comments made by John Cummins, and in media stories. The HST is a dead issue other than the Liberals are taking their sweet time killing it --- BC Conservatives have called for a speeding end to this tax, as stated by John Cummins:
      “This vote is as much a rejection of the manner in which this Liberal government conducts the people’s business, as it is a rejection of the HST.”

      “That said, the government must act swiftly and repeal the HST by January 1st, 2012,” said Mr. Cummins, “and the scope of the reinstated PST should not be expanded beyond its pre-HST reach.”

      On BC Rail, the following was part of a news story:
      At a news conference with BC Conservative Leader John Cummins, van Dongen said he has hired a lawyer at his own expense to investigate the BC Rail legal fees arrangement, and also Clark's involvement with the sale in 2002-'03. He said Clark made "inconsistent" statements when she ran for the BC Liberal leadership last year about what she knew of the sale and the involvement of lobbyists.

      Meeting with reporters Tuesday, Clark again rejected calls for an inquiry into the case, saying she has answered every question about her own involvement in the original sale.

      As to Smart Meters, here is a direct quote from John Cummins:
      “The smart meter initiative goes beyond simple monitoring of consumption. It is clearly the intention of this Liberal government and BC Hydro to announce higher billing charges at peak periods after the election. People are going to be punished for performing normal, everyday tasks that they cannot do at other times because they go to work or school.”

      “The Liberal government should never have let BC Hydro proceed with its smart meter program. It is a terrible initiative that will ultimately cost the tax payers of this province dearly.”

      BC Conservative have spoken out on MANY other issues as well including the Carbon Tax ... and catch and release justice system ... out of control spending ... the teachers strike and education issues ... the failed BC Place naming rights deal ... garbage incineration in the Fraser Valley ... and much more.

      The BC Conservative Party is nothing like, or similar to the Liberals. The BC Liberals on the other hand have MUCH MORE in common with the NDP


      May 3, 2012 at 11:58am

      She won't do the BC Rail thing because that would damn the BC LIBs to the political waste bin. She should have moved on the HST to start. Its too late now. Such a move would only be seen as political opportunism. The smart meters alone are not a big enough issue to win her any support. Most of the folks opposed to those things are environmentally conscious, and they don't vote right as a rule!
      Zalm is right, if she'd moved early to do these things, it might have helped her. Now, its just too late.
      Its over for the BC LIBs, no matter what they do!

      Renate Kals

      May 3, 2012 at 12:15pm

      We definitely need a party which will offer us referendums ! Please read the following statement of Bill Vander Zalm:
      The B.C. Liberals , a party on the way out, yet the big corporations continue to think that
      big money donations for negative advertising will somehow see the party elected
      another term.
      The B.C. Conservatives, have gained enormous ground, unfortunately they supported
      the HST, and many believe that both parties may soon change leaders and coalesce –
      they’ll call it a necessary ‘free enterprise’ coalition to keep out the NDP.
      The B.C. NDP – Has been too quiet to tackle government waste, abuse and misuse, they
      seem to believe that they can win by default.
      Those that vote in the next provincial election, will choose between, what many will say
      is, ‘the least of the evils’, but 50% have given up voting for any party or will say “in the
      end, what’s the difference”.
      The leaders and most people running for office, are good people and well intentioned,
      the real problem is that in the end, they all become the same.
      The problem is the system, a system so manipulated that even ‘the manipulated’ don’t
      know it’s happening. A system of bureaucrats and handlers intrinsically influenced by
      the special interests – be it Ottawa, single issue groups, big corporations or big unions.
      I’m not saying you must join a political party, any political party, but even if you already
      belong to a political party, we the people must join together to change the system. I
      believe the “B.C. First Movement” may be the vehicle for this and give us a choice more
      than choosing left or right, and a choice for the 50% that has given up voting.
      The B.C. First Movement proposes to have us governed by MLAs that are independent,
      who will vote their conscience and the will of their constituents. B.C. First proposes to
      adopt a “hybrid Swiss System” that uses workable Initiative and Referendum to truly
      represent the will of the constituents that pay their salaries. Best of all, B.C. First will
      enshrine all this in a “B.C. People’s Constitution” that can only be amended by a vote of
      the people.
      None of the disastrous government decisions , that have wasted billions of tax payer
      dollars, such as the HST, Smart Meters, B.C. Rail, North America’s highest gasoline prices
      and on and on, would have happened under a system that gives the people the final
      Never before have the people of our Province been as ready for change as we see it
      today. I’m ready to join with you to help bring that change, we owe it to our children,
      grandchildren and generations to come.
      I’ll fight with you to bring change to an Archaic and Corrupt system.
      Bill Vander Zalm

      Alan Forseth

      May 3, 2012 at 3:29pm

      I have been interested to note there have been several negative (-) responses to my post. Given I stated direct quotes, this puzzles me as they clearly refute what Bill has to say in his comments.

      Either that, or folks disagree with my closing comment of, "The BC Conservative Party is nothing like, or similar to the Liberals. The BC Liberals on the other hand have MUCH MORE in common with the NDP"

      Again however given the publicly made statements of BC Conservatives, how could anyone say or think we are anything like the BC Liberals?

      Alan Forseth

      May 3, 2012 at 4:34pm

      Hiding in anonymity ... why not post something about what you agree or disagree with

      Just Wondering

      May 4, 2012 at 11:51am

      The HST is not I repeat NOT a dead issue. The fact that it is still around this long after the people voted it out means we will show the Liberals just how fast something not wanted can be removed. So lets not try to bury it and pretend it is not in our face.