Earlier, we reported Premier Gordon Campbell took a shot at Bill Vander Zalm during a post-throne speech budget reception - a potential source of discomfort for some former Socreds who now support the Liberals. But despite that potential for discomfort, the Campbell administration pressed its attack against the former premier, who is leading a campaign against the harmonized sales tax. In a news release distributed on Friday, the Liberals' charged Mr. Vander Zalm "had to self-publish his own memoirs and peddle them on the Internet because no publisher would accept them." So what does the former premier have to say about that attack?
Speaking on Public Eye Radio, he stated, "Well, it shows how desperate they really are. They're in big trouble. There's no question about that. I don't belong to a political party. So I'm not promoting any one political party in all of this - hopefully not. But they are desperate. There's no question about this. They're going to lose by this unless they change it."
But how about the Liberals' charge that Mr. Vander Zalm "introduced or increased over a dozen taxes in nearly every budget that punished families and small businesses?"
"I guess when you can't win the argument the HST is the wrong-way to go, that it's a bad thing you begin attacking and marginalizing and discrediting. And that's what they're trying to do. And, obviously, they're selectively picking things," said the former premier. "But I do know that we were the only government - while I was there - in the history of the province to reduce the accumulated debt. I also know that during the time I was there - all the time that I was there - there was no protests about taxes, no protests about tax changes." And there were tax changes."
"There was an influx of purchasers - buyers of property from Hong Kong - and they were were pushing the prices up. What we did, in order to try to temper things - it was meant to be temporary but it never was, taxes never are - we introduced the property purchase tax. And, at the same time, we reduced the PST...So those are things that happen in government. But there was no argument about it."
The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned news release.
BC Liberal Government Caucus
For Immediate Release
September 18, 2009
Is this leadership?
"To get Vander Zalm and I on a stage together in Vancouver says a lot ..."
- Carole James
NDP leader Carole James has made herself a follower of disgraced former Premier Bill Vander Zalm and opportunistic B.C. Conservative leader Chris Delaney. Is this the kind of leadership James and the NDP now endorse?
Is this leadership?: Bill Vander Zalm
* As Premier, Vander Zalm introduced or increased over a dozen taxes in nearly every budget that punished families and small businesses - including introducing the Property Transfer Tax and increasing the Small Business Tax to the highest level ever.
* To end his term as Premier, Bill Vander Zalm mixed private and government business in the sale of Fantasy Gardens, which was deemed a clear conflict of interest.
* He was forced to resign from office in disgrace, paving the way for the disastrous NDP win in 1991 that drove B.C.'s economy from first to last in Canada, raised taxes by over $2 billion in their first two years and drove tens of thousands of people out of the province.
* Vander Zalm has had to self-publish his own memoirs and peddle them on the Internet because no publisher would accept them. Should we really pay attention to someone who does not even spell his own name correctly in his own biography?
* Despite continuing to use every recent appearance as an excuse to promote this book, he has neglected to refer readers to further formally published and edited works on his tenure including:
* Breach of Promise: Socred Ethics under Vander Zalm by Graham Leslie (1991)
* Fantasyland: Inside the Reign of Bill Vander Zalm by Gary Mason and Keith Baldrey (1989)
* Report of the Honourable E.N. (Ted) Hughes, Q.C. on the Sale of Fantasy Gardens Inc. (1991)
* Even today, he remains out of touch. Just last weekend, Vander Zalm declared on Joy TV that British Columbia was "losing everything" by promoting multiculturalism.
Is this leadership?: Chris Delaney, B.C. Conservatives
* This failed fringe candidate is the only other person who shows up as often as Vander Zalm. In fact, he proudly notes he worked for Bill Vander Zalm as his communications director in the late 1990s.
* Chris Delaney ran as leader of the B.C. Unity Party in 2001. This party failed to win a single seat and garnered only three per cent of the popular vote under his leadership. In 2009, he then ran and lost under the banner of the BC Conservatives.
* But before losing he clearly outlined that the BC Conservative Party would "aggressively" pursue HST for B.C. if elected.
* The party has since removed the position from their web site in an attempt to rewrite policy on the fly in hopes of getting on television.
Is this leadership?: Carole James, NDP
* Carole James just voted against tax breaks for small business, individuals and families. Her party opposed over 100 tax cuts since 2001 and she has proudly told people that "it doesn't work to make tax cuts."
* Who is Carole James trying to fool this time? Her record is one of expedient posturing. She and the NDP have decided to follow the lead of a disgraced former Premier and a hypocritical fringe candidate. And she still has no plan for the economy. Is this leadership?