Provincial Liberals weren't the only ones who showed up to the party's biennial convention. The New Democrat's children and family development critic Maurine Karagianis was also at the trade centre to offer this curious comment about Premier's Gordon Campbell promise to cut taxes: "We see the Liberal party once again is playing to an elite member of society here. And, once again, it's about this attitude of entitlement that they feel. You will notice, in all of the remarks leading into the introduction to the premier and the premier's comments, they were directly to the Liberal Party supporters and members here. It was not generally about British Columbians. So I think they speak to a few supporters and insiders. And, for the most part, the things that are very meaningful to British Columbians were missing from the speech." But doesn't New Democrat leader Carole James also play to her base when she speaks to similar conventions, we asked?
"If you listen to Carole James, she consistently talks about ordinary British Columbians, all British Columbians, and does not talk specifically about the people in the room or her supporters," said Ms. Karagianis. "I did hear the premier talk consistently about people in the room and his supporters - not all British Columbians."
Funny that. Because the Esquimalt-Metchosin legislator must not have seen Ms. James's performance at last year's Hospital Employees' Union's summer school. During a question and answer session at that event, Ms. James was confronted by an audience member cautioned her against "moving to the centre" because she "worked 18 hours a day to get you back where you are - as well as my brothers and sisters - and we expect you to be in bed with us!"
The Opposition leader's answer: "Just to clarify, it's the media who continually try to point which direction the party is going. And I think they'd love to have everybody in the province move from the middle to the right to the way right. It's the direction the media love to push. People who heard me answer this question know that I'm always very clear that what I'm talking about is a balanced, commonsense approach. It doesn't have anything to do with moving left, middle or right. It says that we all should all work together. And there are some basic fundamental values we believe in - which includes respecting working people in this province. And that value is always going to be there in this party."
But, wondered another audience member, "How is your party going to help the HEU regain what they lost in Bill 29 and 37? And how will you hold the Liberals accountable for what they have done to labour in general with these two bills?"
Responded Ms. James, "As people know, we stood strong as two members in the legislature - with your help I have to say. Our members couldn't have done it without the support provided by HEU. It's hard to talk all night unless you have people providing you with information to be able to try to hold the government to account. So you provided a lot of support to Joy and Jenny in doing just that."
"I think one of the most important things for us to do over these next four years - because I certainly saw that it make a difference during the campaign - is to make sure that people hear the human stories about what's going on in the healthcare system. Because it's very easy for many of the public to be able to write off issues that come forward around numbers or statistics or waiting lists or this person and these staff in this facility. It's tougher for them when they hear the personal stories of individuals who are receiving poor care or the food services have gone down or they weren't able to get their surgeries."
Yes siree. Ms. James never plays to her base.