Friday, October 22, 2010

B. C. Liberals lose one from the wish list

"I've been saying for two years -- both privately and publicly -- that I have no intention of returning to politics," -- Former Finance Minister Carole Taylor, commenting on Thursday's announcement that she's the new Chancellor at SFU and closing the door firmly on any return to political life on the provincial scene.

Members of the British Columbia Liberal party can take Carole Taylor's name off their short list to succeed Premier Gordon Campbell, should he choose to walk off into the sunset soon.

The one time finance minister of British Columbia, who left the Campbell government a few years back has joined the ranks of academe, taking on the role of Chancellor of Simon Fraser University for a three year term, with plans already in the works to carry on beyond that mandate.

A decision that has effectively reinforced for the back room Liberals and those of the party associations the cold reality that she's finished with political life.

As Ms. Taylor  prepares to become the 10th chancellor at SFU, she seems to have firmly closed the door to politics behind her. Instead focusing her attentions towards education and the debate that university life can bring to the provincial scene.

As part of the SFU announcement, the University included a number of videos that highlight her thoughts on the University and the impact that it can have in the province.

Her move in June to her new position reaffirms her past comments on political life and effectively rules out any hopes that BC Liberals had of her returning to the party to lead the Liberals to victory when the next election comes around.

A declaration that will be accepted with regret by a number of provincial Liberals who may be growing anxious at the current polling trends surrounding their party.

Last week the Angus Reid polling group outlined the freefall in support of the current Premier, with Mr. Campbell's popularity figures in single digits, providing the most dramatic repudiation of leadership at any level in recent times.

Those numbers are making Liberals nervous that as they head into the last few years of their mandate, the NDP hordes may be forming at the gates to return to the corridors of power at the Legislature.

As Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver sun outlined yesterday, that prospect of an NDP return to power would have been greatly reduced had Ms. Taylor chosen politics over academic bureaucracy yesterday.

The Premier will be making a rare television appearance next week to outline the current state of the province and most likely to offer up a mea culpa on the controversial and mishandled of his HST program.

Some are wondering aloud if he'll also be  indicating the future of his own political life in that speech, perhaps setting in place the wheels of succession to the party leadership, a succession that now will not feature Ms. Taylor's name.

While the NDP ponders how the latest developments in Liberal land could affect its political fortunes, NDP leader Carole James may wish to take time out to send her best wishes (and personal thanks) to Ms. Taylor as she prepares to take on her new duties.

By stepping out of the political spotlight and away from the Liberals denying them a potentially very popular choice, she may have provided the NDP leader with  a bit more time in her own battles within the NDP, which seems to be having its own leadership questions these days.

Victoria Times Colonist-- Taylor slams door on politics as she becomes SFU chancellor
Vancouver Sun-- Carole Taylor named next SFU chancellor
Digital Journal-- New Chancellor at Canadian University Carole Taylor appointed SFU chancellor 
Business in Vancouver-- Former B.C. finance minister shares with BIV how she was appointed SFU chancellor

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