The rallies will disappear and the talk of recall and a citizens’ initiative on the Harmonized Sales Tax may also fade away, once organizers discover just how hard it is to mount such campaigns.
But the damage done to the provincial Liberals by the introduction of the HST, and in particular the damage done to the premier’s reputation, will not go away.
Gordon Campbell isn’t particularly popular with B.C. residents. He never has been.
However, he has been tolerated because he has been seen as fiscally responsible, committed to the province and, in some ways, visionary.
His reputation has been damaged because he and other Liberal candidates gave no indication the HST was in the works during the election campaign.
In fact, they told one restaurant-industry group they had no such plans.
His reputation has also been damaged because the deficit is much larger than his government’s budget said it would be and, when asked repeatedly about the deficit during the campaign, he stuck with a figure most observers said was ridiculously low.
If he runs again in the next election, many members of the public will not forget the about-faces. If he runs again, the right will be invigorated.
Campbell has said he plans to run in the 2013 election, but that is just talk at this point in time.
What is most likely is he will preside over the Winter Olympics and perhaps stay for another year or so, and then announce his retirement from politics much as Bill Bennett did in 1986.
Campbell will say that he was forced to make tough decisions and lost popularity as a result.
He’s right but saying one thing in a campaign and doing another a few weeks later isn’t a tough decision.
Kamloops This Week