COMMENT: Clark’s pitch ignores reality
For a while, I was wondering whether Christy Clark and her supporters realized THEY were in government, not opposition!
They all spent much of the Liberals’ half-hour paid advertisement on Global TV Sunday night warning against the evils of deficits and debt: BC NEEDS a balanced budget “for our kids”; BC should NOT leave those same kids with debt.
“If we have a government that is changing or increasing the debt load, I would definitely be worried about the next generation,” proffered one of those hand-picked Liberal “concerned citizens” in the Liberals’ $100,000 production “Strong Economy, Secure Tomorrow”.
“If it was not okay for our parents to leave us with debt, why is it okay to leave our kids with debt?,” Clark wondered.
Right on, again!
But wait a minute….. it’s CLARK and her own Liberal government that have been boosting BC’s deficit and debt into the stratosphere over the past two years!
Has she forgotten she, not Dix, has been the un-elected, acting premier? Are the Liberals pretending they haven’t been in power, hoping stupefied voters can be duped into thinking it’s the evil NDP that have been raising our debt and failing to balance the budget over the past few years?
Well, let’s keep it real–using the BC government’s own figures.
Auditor General John Doyle personally reported BC’s DEFICIT in 2011-12 was $2.36 billion!
BC’s debt in 2010-11 rose 16% to $47.8 billion, in 2012-13 to $56.1 billion and is projected, in the Liberals’ own recent budget to grow to $62.6 BILLION in 2013-14, up to $66.5 BILLION in 2014-15 and $69.4 BILLION in 2015-16.
Explain that to the kids, Christy!
I’m not saying the deficit and debt will not grow under the NDP either, but surely there’s a greater deal of hypocrisy when Clark, her finance minister and a host of ”concerned citizens” stare right into the camera and spend almost half of their paid air time warning about the scourge of deficits and debt ..while failing to mention that it’s they who have been adding to BC’s burden in this regard.
As I said, for a while I wondered whether even THEY knew they have been in power???
Or that when the NDP were booted from power, BC’s debt stood at $34 Billion …so under the Liberals (Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark’s combined fiscal expertise) it will have MORE THAN DOUBLED under their governance.
Some experts! Tell that to the kids.
But of course, I understand what the Liberals were trying to do: make it sound like it’s the financially responsible free enterprisers who are protecting the taxpayers from those wild spending socialists.
Forget the fact–this is politics, at election time.
And let’s face it, how many of those who watched would know or recall the figures I have reminded readers of now? How many would just be sufficiently scared off giving the NDP a vote?
Elections are determined as much by images and impressions as by actual facts, or even promises and platforms.
And speaking of images, I couldn’t help but notice the wide variety of ethnicities included in the video.
I actually would normally like that: when I was working, I tried harder than most to include a wider variety of British Columbians in my interviews … especially when doing “streeters”. But in view of all those recent news stories, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was all just part of the Liberals’ no-longer-so-secret plan, not so much actually respecting minorities, but just to woo their votes.
So did the presentation work?
I’d say it mostly rallied the faithful, but it also did an effective job of reminding people of the downsides of the NDP term in power (substantially higher income taxes; BC’s “have-not” status; economic downturn; people leaving the province, for Alberta).
So what Clark made clear is that Liberals’ campaign will try to get voters to think more about what happened in BC thirteen years ago than their own record since then, especially over the past two!
Harv Oberfeld is a retired journalist and broadcaster. This column originally appeared in his blog, Keeping It Real. Reprinted with permission.