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rod mickleburgh

Thank you, Rich Coleman. In response to my complaint that debate in the legislature was missing the slings and arrows of outrageous sessions of the past, Mr. Coleman rose to the challenge on Wednesday.

The Minister of Energy, Mines, Liquor Distribution, Housing, Horse Racing and Hula Hoops seemed to echo Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy by suggesting there were 'Reds under the beds' in British Columbia.

Mr. Coleman didn't use those exact words, but the implication was clear, as he railed away at the NDP for "socialist-communist thinking … that everything should be nationalized."

It was enough to make one nostalgic for the good old daze of the 1960s when every election, one week before voting day, premier W.A.C. Bennett would warn the public: "The socialist hordes are at the gates, my friend."

In fighting the good fight against communism, however, Minister Coleman needs to broaden his attack beyond those Dix-ist Leninists opposite him.

There were, and are, pinkos everywhere.

No. 1 on the list is none other than Wacky Bennett himself. Under the guise of Social Credit, his government took a couple of pages out of the Communist Manifesto and nationalized both BC Ferries and BC Hydro.

Mr. Bennett's successor, Dave Barrett, wore the reddest underwear of all. The NDP premier used the strong arm of state socialism to not only take over Panco Poultry, but the entire auto insurance business as well.

Next, Mr. Coleman might look at his own former premier, Gordon Campbell, who clearly fell under the spell of "socialist-communist thinking."

Once possessed of a burning desire to privatize ICBC, Mr. Campbell changed his mind while in government. It's a public monopoly that makes economic sense, the freshly minted Maoist acknowledged.

Finally, much as it hurts to say so, Minister Coleman may have to turn his red-hunting sights on himself.

Over the past five years, under the direction of Comrade Coleman, the provincial government has acquired no less than 25 single-room occupancy hotels on the Downtown Eastside.

A Communist land grab, if ever there was one.

Mulcair's musings turn off West

Have federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair's political marbles gone astray?

It's all very well for Mr. Mulcair to go on and on about the Dutch elm disease, or whatever it's called, and he may be right that unrestrained reliance on energy exports, particularly from the oil sands, is hurting Canadian manufacturing by boosting the exchange value of the loonie.

But what could a federal NDP government do about it? Not that much. Higher taxes and more stringent environmental controls on oil sands development, however justified, are not likely to put a significant crimp in production of all those petrodollars. The oil sands and the resource-rich West are an economic fact of life, regardless of their impact.

Nor is Mr. Mulcair's case helped by dismissing popular, re-elected premiers Alison Redford and Brad Wall as "messengers from Harper."

As he bids to be Canada's first, permanently bearded prime minister since the magnificent Mackenzie Bowell, Mr. Mulcair's musings – valid though they may be – seem more suited to his previous time as a university teacher than a winning political strategy. They turn off the West, while reaping minimal benefit in the East, since many of those lost manufacturing jobs are unlikely to return.

No wonder the Tories can't say "oh, what a lovely majority" without haranguing the NDP Leader about wanting to destroy Canada with that deadly virus from the Netherlands.

Not gouda nuff, Mr. Mulcair.

Christy's doin' well

Premier Christy Clark recently appeared on the cross-Canada, CBC radio show The House.

After a prerequisite slagging of the NDP's aforementioned top gun, Ms. Clark told the nation: "Here's my view of this country. … If Saskatchewan's doin' well, British Columbia's doin' well. If British Columbia's doin' well, Quebec's doin' better."

Later, host Evan Solomon asked her if B.C. will now elect its senators. "Yes, we will," the irrepressible Premier affirmed. "We are gonna" – pause – "we are going to have an election. … "

Somewhere, Ms. Clark's old phonics teacher has ceased grimacin' and started smilin'.

Quote of the week

Quote of the week also goes to our globe-trotting Christy Clark. Asked about solicitous officials wanting a nice bottle of Chandigarh Chardonnay to be placed in her hotel room on a trip to India, Ms. Clark replied: "I didn't even open it, because I don't have time on a trade mission."

May I respectfully suggest, Madame Premier, that we taxpayers are not such stern taskmasters as all that. Next time, go ahead. Have a sip. It's on me.