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article imageOp-Ed: British Columbia Politics a Lolly Scramble

By Bruce Brazel     Dec 7, 2010 in Politics
Vancouver - Given the dramatic events of the past few weeks British Columbia's political future looks, to an outsider, like what the British part would call a "lolly[candy] scramble".
Gordon Campbell was the first to give the poor old B.C. pinata a whack in the ribs when he announced he was stepping down amid a recent caucus revolt over the handling of the HST. The fall out left the leading B.C. Liberals (who are distinctly right of centre by comparison to the Federal Liberal Party for some unexplainable reason) scrambling for the spoils a suddenly-departing tsar leaves.
His announcement also activated unknowable universal forces within the Opposition NDP and within weeks Carole James had been swarmed by her hive and unceremoniously evicted as Queen Bee of the NDP, a party enjoying a 47% approval rating in the polls while James has watched her ship sink to about half of her party's popularity..
This can only mean one or two things. Firstly that the B.C. political landscape is in full melt down like the polar ice capes after almost 10 years of political stability (72 Liberal seats to 4 NDP for much of that), and secondly, that the black hole which has opened in its wake is likely to suck us all into the vortex of the obviously-upcoming-but-yet-to-be-announced election which all this sabre rattling heralds.
As the politicians of all stripes dust off their best threads and practice their baby kissing in the hopes of winning a seat [and a gold plates pension] at the polls they must also contend with the infighting for position of alpha of the two main packs. It is a true case of nice and smarmy on the outside; sweaty and gritty in the middle.
To top it off the province's big business interests could make an interesting feast of the resulting rabble, considering [if government spokespeople are to be believed] that the province's biggest industry is marijuana production.
Not only is this a growth industry but the high mountains and hundreds of thousands of almost inaccessible valleys have made policing it a growth industry as law enforcement scrambles to play catch up with the expansion of what police claim is organized crime. Pundits declare it Columbia north. [With luck the designated marijuana grow up squad busts one operation a day, but with hundreds more known operations in their little black book, most will be long disappeared before they arrive].
If the multi billion dollar pot industry decide to use its deep pockets to buy political friends in competition with the mining, oil and gas magnates in this melt down the price of political friends in this corner of the country could rise sharply.
The province already had one business scare recently when California briefly considered legalising pot growing. This would have dealt a devastating blow to the B.C. economy already struggling with loss of tourism dollars and the fallout of the forestry and fish markets during the last few years. The Pot Growers' Association is likely to be keen to see moves to protect the ready cash flow it generates and keep it under the table and out of government hands.
That would mean keeping close politicians keen to stand opposed to its legalisation, perhaps with brown paper packets of crisp bills, the now well-known usual form of payment for political favors in this country. Meanwhile, the grand old ship "British Columbia" flounders on, virtually as rudderless as the Exxon Valdez.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about British columbia, Politics, Gordon campbell, Carole james
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