Friday, November 22, 2013

Premier Campbell

A day after Premier Gordon Muir Campbell took office he reduced taxes - personal income tax was reduced by 25% in every tax bracket. He also reduced the corporate income tax and abolished the Corporation Capital Tax. In order to finance these tax cuts, Campbell sold some government assets, reduced the size of civil servants and closed government offices in certain areas. He also made reductions in the welfare rolls, which caused an uproar as you can well imagine. Then again, so did getting rid of government jobs and closing some offices.

In 2001, Campbell's government passed legislation that made it illegal for educators to go on strike. Then the government embarked on the largest expansion of the province's post-secondary education system since 1965 when the Simon Fraser University was established. 25,000 new post-secondary positions would be established between 2004 and 2010. As well, the government lifted a six-year freeze on tuition fees, which the NDP had established.

During his second term, teachers began an indefinite walk-out on October 7, 2005. Because of the previously passed legislation, this was an act of civil disobedience, but even though the teachers were fine and faced contempt charges, they stayed out for two weeks and the ordeal threatened to culminate in a general strike across the province.

During the 2001 election, Campbell had campaigned on a promise to consult the citizens of B.C. regarding treaties with the First Nations. In a referendum held during the spring of 2002, eight questions were posed to voters to either support or oppose. Critics - religious groups and First Nations among others - protested that the questions were phrased incorrectly. They called for a boycott of the referendum and when that didn't work, groups of First Nations tried to collect the ballots to destroy publicly.

Of the ballots that were returned, 80% of British Columbians agreed to all eight proposed principles and the treaty negotiations resumed.

 During his second term, Campbell did manage to negotiate treaties with certain nations but not with others.

430,000 new jobs have been created in B.C. since December of 2001 - the best job creation record in Canada. In 2007, the economy created 70,800 more jobs and almost all of those were full-time. By spring 2007, the unemployment rate had fallen to the lowest rate in 30 years, 4%. Unfortunately, 40,300 jobs were lost in 2008 bringing the employment rate to July 2001 levels of 7.8%.

Gordon Campbell was not without his controversy. As you have seen, most of B.C.'s premiers haven't been.

In January of 2003, Gordon was caught driving while intoxicated while on vacation in Hawaii. In that state, a DUI is a misdemeanour while in Canada it is a criminal code offence. Campbell was fined and ordered to take part in a substance abuse program and to be assessed for alcoholism. MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Driving - of Canada called for Campbell to resign but he didn't.

The controversy that finished his provincial political career though involved taxes in his third term. During the campaign, the provincial Liberals had stated that the HST was not on their radar. (The HST stands for harmonized sales tax. It is a tax of 12%. At that time B.C. had a 7% provincial sales tax and a 5% goods and services sales tax - GST . The GST doesn't apply to everything.)
On July 23, 2009, the Campbell government announced it was going to implement the HST, combining the two taxes in to one. This new tax drew praise from the business community - large supporters of the B.C. Liberal Party. Critics slammed the government mainly for lying. It didn't matter that C.D. Howe Institute - a neo-conservative think tank - stated the HST was "crucial for B.C. to maintain its economic competitiveness". 

On September 1, 2010, a freedom of information request revealed that the B.C. Liberals had formed HST-related plans prior to the 2009 election, contrary to what they said in the election campaign.

Campbell resigned on November 3, 2010. 

That wasn't the end of Campbell's political career though. He stayed on as a "senior advisor" in party circles before becoming High Commissioner to the UK in 2011.

There is lots more to Gordon Campbell's term as premier and, if you are interested, please visit Wikipedia.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

, , , , , , ,,

No comments:

Post a Comment