Saturday, November 14, 2009

An Open Letter to Carole James

Yesterday I learned that a committee headed by MLA Doug Donaldson had spoken out unanimously to reinstate funding to the arts and culture. I was elated, especially when I realized this committee consisted of MLAs from both the opposition and from the governing Liberals, the very party that appears to be behind the recent drastic cuts.

And then the second part of the story came through. Because the HST wasn’t part of the package, you were saying No to the whole thing.

This sounds a little like the diehard vegetarian who turns down a Thanksgiving invitation from her estranged family because she doesn’t eat turkey. Rather than saying yes and simply not taking a chunk of meat, she misses out on the mashed potatoes, the Brussels sprouts, the rest of the trimmings – even the pie. But even more so, by turning down the invitation, she misses the chance to regroup with people who are important to her.

The recent slashes to budgets have been downright mean, affecting sectors already running at bare-bones levels. More frighteningly, the cuts have looked like government-by-backroom-schemes rather than legislative decisions. Even the Feds, through comments by Heritage Minister James Moore, have questioned the economic sense of these massive reductions in funding.

Yet when the opportunity arises to join with fellow MLAs to speak out on this important issue, you seem to think it’s a good idea to just say No.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who wonders just how many of these cuts have been dreamed up – not by the Liberal Party as a whole – but by Campbell, his ego, and the members of his innermost circle.

I’m sure there must be many MLAs, Liberals included, who have been horrified by the cuts and are at a loss when it comes to defending the decisions to their constituents.

So it was very exciting to learn that a group of MLAs – especially ones elected under the banner of Campbell’s party – were willing to speak out in such a way.

Only what did you do? Rather than rolling up your sleeves and saying Let’s pull together and clean up this mess, you jumped on your high-horse and said No. Sure, it might have meant holding your nose to work with those you’ve cast as your opponents, but then this mess is a lot like a backed-up plumbing problem. To clean it up, everybody’s going to have to hold their nose until it’s fixed.

I suspect the only way my message might register with you is to say that by taking this non-action, you’ve probably lost even more votes for your party.

But the real issue here isn’t about winning or losing votes. It’s about seeing that the people of British Columbia start getting government that represents all of us, that it isn’t just government by the rich and for the rich. It’s about seeing that the people of British Columbia can count on our MLAs to speak out on our behalf. even when it might require some nose-holding to achieve a common good.

How disappointing, Carole James. You’ve turned down an opportunity that might have led to real change.


Janet Vickers said...

This is a well thought out letter containing a lot of wisdom. I could see you running for a seat in parliament.

hg said...

I couldn't. See me running for anything, that is. But thanks for the compliment on the letter.

Schroedinger's Cat said...

I've known for a long time that the NDP always plays politics like this when it comes to actual principle. An opportunist false socialist party to the bone in my opinion, as even its own believers have so often found. But that's just my far left dogmatic opinion, backed up by long experience. Heidi, this article is sharp and relevant on every point. I hope that Carole James will take it to heart, though I am almost certain that she won't.

hg said...

Thank you for your kind remarks, SC. As for Carole James taking my message to heart, she hasn't even replied to the email I sent -- a copy of this post.
I pasted it in and made it easy for her, so she didn't even have to click to read it. Guess it wasn't what she wanted to hear.