Whoa! I’m not sure I can stand the pace of this here Liberal leadership race. Out of shape and out of news for the past two weeks, I find myself panting and breathless just trying to keep up with the bombshells that keep exploding.
George Abbott’s 18-point plan I can handle. Same with Kevin Falcon’s musings about paying some teachers more money for something or other yet to be determined, and Christy Clark vowing yet again to transform the province into government by talk show.
But the shock and awe of ex-TV news anchor Pamela Martin mustering all her political experience into a ringing endorsement of Ms. Clark went right off my “yikes” meter.
It’s time to have a woman in the premier’s chair, the charming Ms. Martin explained, although, truth to tell, I never heard her whisper much in favour of NDP Leader Carole James or, for that matter, former Socred premier Rita Johnston. Is Pamela going to go all partisan on us, now that she’s free from the shackles of channelling her inner Sandie Rinaldo?
Then there was the stunning news that Moira Stilwell had unveiled a policy, her first, I believe, since the beginning of December, when she outflanked other candidates by pledging $10-million in infrastructure upgrades to Dawson Creek’s Northern Lights College.
Now, this week, another $10-million promise from the nuclear medicine specialist, this time to fund a national mountain-search-and-rescue training institute in Revelstoke. Already, my heart is beating in anticipation of Ms. Stilwell’s February’s announcement.
And finally, who could have been prepared for the entry of Ed Mayne, the pearl of Parksville, into the fray? To say the mayor of Vancouver Island’s motel haven – for all of two years – is a bit of a dark horse is to be wildly optimistic. Mind you, he did get off a pretty good zinger, when a reporter challenged him on his lack of time in the political fast lane. “Gordon Campbell had 20 years experience. Look where he ended up,” Mr. Mayne retorted.
A nod to Ms. Clark, meanwhile, as the first candidate to drag out that hoary old chestnut of wagging her finger and accusing one of her leadership rivals of “playing politics.” In this case, George of the Jungle Abbott got the Clark naughty-naughty for daring to suggest the $6-million Basi-Virk out-of-court settlement might warrant another look.
Imagine that, a politician criticized for “playing politics” in the midst of a race to head a political party. Hang down your head, George Abbott.
Reminds me of the time a B.C. legislator stood up in great, feigned dismay. “Politics have broken out in this august chamber,” he thundered at the Speaker.
Let me tell you a story about Canada’s new minister of the warming environment, Peter Kent.
Long ago, Mr. Kent was a terrific foreign correspondent for the CBC, and one of the first to file on-the-spot reports from the horrific “killing fields” of Cambodia.
Mr. Kent was so emotionally drained by what he witnessed that he broke down during his standup. Feeling this was unprofessional, he did another one, this time minus the tears. Mr. Kent told his editor to use the second take. But when the tapes arrived (no satellite connections in those days) back at the CBC, his editor ignored Mr. Kent’s druthers and used the standup with the breakdown. It was journalism at its finest, while sparking a lively debate about which standup the CBC should have used. Who was right, the editor or Mr. Kent, professing himself to be embarrassed by his honest display of emotion?
Fast forward to 2011. Is it not somehow a little sad to see Mr. Kent now employed as the minister in charge of the Harper government’s do-nothing approach to the environment and the perils of climate change? One suspects there will be few tears shed by Mr. Kent over the demise of the Kyoto Accord.
We take you now to Russia for an update on the first Winter Olympics to be held in a subtropical climate. Guess what? It’s January and there’s no snow.
Even Russia’s fun-loving puppet president Dmitry Medvedev is concerned. “For the second year, the winter here is essentially snow-free,” Mr. Medvedev told reporters in Roza Khutor, the instant resort where all Olympic skiing events are to be staged. “We need to make sure that we have no problems that Vancouver faced last year.”
Mr. Medvedev did not spell out how Olympic organizers plan to overcome this unfortunate wealth of wintergreen, but I’m told the sacrifice of a few crusading journalists is not out of the question. Anything to appease the snow gods before the night of the zorbs that will open the 2014 Games.