Thursday, May 14, 2009

Working towards a Campbell dynasty?

Despite being the lightning rod for many that he appears to be at times, with Tuesday night's electoral victory Premier Gordon Campbell has turned a corner of sorts in British Columbia politics, securing his third consecutive term as Premier of the province, making a move towards the political history books.

In a province where politics has long been truly a blood sport, leaders come and go in rapid fashion, backroom coups, outright hostility to the leaders, it all has been part of the colourful past for many of BC's parties over the years.

Campbell, however has managed to avoid the fate of past political leaders in the province, the the Vander Zalms, Clarks, Harcourts and Wilsons (though he benefited rather nicely by the demise of the latter) through his time as head of the Liberal party, keeping that shotgun marriage between Liberals and Social Credit nicely in place and with it a firm grasp on the reigns of power in the province, rewarded three times now with a mandate to govern.

While potential scandals have nipped at his heels during the last few years, they didn't seem to have any final impact on the vote totals, with voters seemingly accepting the Liberal agenda over that of the opposition NDP, which failed to move their message forward or to improve their standing in the Legislature for the next four years.
Political dynasties come and go over the years, the Social Credit Bennett's, both father and son the most often cited example of British Columbia's flirtation with populism. While Gordon Campbell most likely will never be considered a "politician of the people", he doesn't provide for the bombastic life of W.A.C Bennett, nor of the quiet, but iron rule of Bill. But he has begun to put his own stamp on the Liberal party of today, which much like its Social Credit predecessor continues to frustrate their competition at the Legislature.
They haven't started to revise the high school text books yet to reflect the changing standings for electoral success in the province, but like him, hate him or just trying to ignore him, it's safe to say that one day there will be a separate chapter for the Campbell years of governance in British Columbia.
It's still a work in progress of course, the only questions that remain are how long will it go on and when the time eventually comes, as it will, how it all comes to an end.
Some selected readings on the latest term for Gordon Campbell:
Victoria Times Colonist-- Campbell's agenda: Do it all, right now
24 Hours Vancouver-- What now?

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