Politicians aren't always going to get it right. And sometimes, the public holds them to impossibly high standards.
But even the most charitable among us can't deny that Premier Christy Clark has had a dreadful week.
On Monday (March 23), her government fired the municipal auditor general, Basia Ruta, claiming that she had obstructed a review of her office. Ruta, a former assistant deputy minister at Environment Canada, has alleged that her dismissal didn't meet principles of procedural fairness.
Clark came up with the idea of hiring someone to review municipal finances during her campaign to win the B.C. Liberal leadership in 2011. After just three audits and $5.2 million spent, it's not looking like a great deal for taxpayers.
But that was fairly minor in comparison to the transit plebiscite. In their last election platform, Clark's B.C. Liberals promised that the public would have a say on new transit expenditures.
It was a foolish idea, given that the province doesn't order plebiscites on other capital projects. The provincial government's decision to kneecap the elected TransLink board and appoint directors who rarely interact with the public has cast a pall over the chance of the public voting yes.
If there's a "no" result, Clark will be seen as the real architect of this divisive, economy-stifling exercise.
She'll be the transit killer in the eyes of local mayors and supporters of more transportation options.
It may have seemed like good politics to the premier to promise a referendum, but it has been a lousy exercise in governance.
Next on the list is Bill 11, also known as the Education Statutes Amendment Act, which would give Education Minister Peter Fassbender more power to force boards of education to bend to his will.
Vision Vancouver trustee Patti Bacchus told the Straight that it could lead to greater pressure to privatize public school lands.
Treaties and liquor reforms bungled
Then there is the disgraceful treatment of former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister George Abbott. I remember interviewing him last October about becoming chief commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission.
He was excited about the prospect of bringing about reconciliation between First Nations people and the rest of society.
Less than two weeks before Abbott was about to start, the B.C. Liberal cabinet revoked his appointment. What's worse is that the premier didn't notify First Nations leaders in advance.
I can only wonder which businessperson or senior mandarin whispered in her ear that it was necessary to undermine the tripartite treaty process with this phone call to Abbott to tell him he wasn't being hired.
Was it anyone connected to plans to build oil refineries or liquefied-natural-gas facilities on the North Coast? Did it have anything to do with private companies wanting to do deals with financially strapped First Nations before they had nailed down their full legal rights in the form of a treaty?
I don't have the answers to these questions, nor does anyone else until the government comes clean on this.
The final fiasco in the premier's losing streak this week concerned liquor reforms. She and her justice minister, Suzanne Anton, have alienated a bunch of potential B.C. Liberal supporters by turning the Liquor Distribution Branch's wholesale division into a cash cow for the government.
There are still no discounts for restaurants, unlike in Alberta and Washington state. And only the government, not the private stores, is permitted to sell to restaurants.
As a result of a new wholesale-pricing model that takes effect on Wednesday (April 1), some independent wine stores and private liquor stores are likely to become road kill. This will clear the path for billionaires in the grocery industry (i.e. Jimmy Pattison, Galen Weston, Brandt Louie, and Frank Sobey) to add to their fortunes by grabbing market share.
This will help the B.C. Liberal fundraising machine before the next election as the grocery czars fill up the war chest. But it will also come at a tremendous political cost as former B.C. Liberal supporters cast their lot in with the B.C. NDP, which seems to care more about the province's emerging craft-beer sector.
Of course, many of those craft breweries are in NDP constituencies in East Vancouver, North Surrey, southern Vancouver Island, and the Kootenays. So in the premier's political calculus, they don't matter as much as catering to the supermarket billionaires.
But is her judgment really that sound? This is the same premier who concluded that it was a good idea to hold a transit referendum, hire a municipal auditor general, and cancel the appointment of a former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister to shepherd treaties to completion.
Sooner or later, a majority of B.C. voters will recognize they're being led by someone who often puts politics ahead of what's the best public policy. And when that realization sets in, expect a movement to arise within the B.C. Liberal party to get rid of her.