I feel sorry for Premier Gordon Campbell. It’s a guy thing.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, men between the ages of 21 and 45 are most likely to repeatedly drive while intoxicated. Men know that that it’s wrong but they would like to pardon themselves and Premier Campbell.
It’s a way of absolving their own guilt. It’s irrational male thinking. I confess that I have driven after drinking more than I should have. It’s a feeble excuse but all I can say is that it was a stupid thing to do.
Women are less likely to rationalize drunk driving. A female caller to a phone-in radio show said “Campbell’s lack of judgment of driving while drunk is a metaphor for way he has govern. He has recklessly endangered the lives of the B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens.” When Campbell was driving while drunk, he only endangered the lives of innocent pedestrians, other drivers, and his passengers. Governing recklessly endangers many more.
Campbell’s policies have hurt individuals and whole communities.
Things were bad enough when he took control. Before Campbell took office we had the greatest gap between rich and poor in Canada. B.C. has the wealthiest citizens in Canada and nearly the poorest, second only to Atlantic Canada.
According to Statistics Canada from 1999, the wealthiest 10 per cent of British Columbians had assets worth $1.38 million each and the poorest were $1,126 in debt – – they owed more than the value of their possessions.
After being the wheel of government for almost two years, Campbell has transferred tax dollars to the rich through tax cuts, closure of public buildings, and cuts to public sector jobs.
At first glance it would seem that lower taxes benefit everyone – – until you realize that the money saved through tax breaks is less than the increased cost of government services. Average taxpayers end up paying more as a result of tax cuts.
The richest British Columbians had the greatest tax breaks. They received an average cut of $23,260 each according to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The tax breaks for the bottom half of wage earners was only $197.
If you are a student, you had a net increase in costs through increased tuition fees. If you are a senior citizen, your tax cut didn’t pay for the increased cost of prescriptions and Medical Services Premiums. Only the rich benefit from tax cuts.
Whole communities are getting richer at the expense of others, mostly in the interior. Interior communities received an average tax cut of $615 for each person. Those in West Vancouver received $2,085 per taxpayer, according to CCPA.
As a result, money is being transferred from poorer communities to richer ones. It works like this. The Liberals have to get the money they lost in tax cuts from somewhere. To balance the budget, Campbell has cut government services and programs for the disabled, poor, sick and elderly.
To make matters worse the Liberals have cut employment in small centers like welfare offices, court houses, correctional camps. The people who were employed in these government jobs were paid a fair wage. They supported the community by shopping at local stores. It’s a way of distributing the resource wealth that small communities generate.
Public sector jobs they transfer wealth to the communities in which the workers live and they provide useful services and fair wages. Yes, jobs in the public sector are paid for by your taxes. But so is the transfer of wealth to the rich.
The economy of the rest of Canada is doing very well. Last year, over 500,000 jobs were created. About 120,000 of those new jobs were in the public sector. “The public sector is currently one of the strongest segments of our labour market,” said economist Jim Stanford.
Campbell’s job cuts come at a time when interior communities are also loosing jobs in the resource sector. The resources of the interior of B.C. contribute the most of our collective wealth but the interior is not benefiting. The rich get drunk and we get a hangover.
Campbell thought that that road to economic recovery would be smooth. He didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt. It was a short trip and he didn’t think he would be stopped. He thought he could make it home.