A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell resigned on Wednesday, and, from the looks of the latest numbers, not a minute too soon! There are going to be the usual accolades and incriminations, farewells and good riddances but one guy in B.C. is so mad about all this he could tear his hair out. We’ll call him MR. X. Mr. X has an ambition in life. He wants to be a Superhero — and Premier of BC – but, mostly a superhero. He’s already got a costume: rolled sleeves, loose tie, bike helmet. He’s already got a secret identity: caring, sharing, sensitive, millennial man. He might have a secret lair, too, but I’m not sure. Anyway, Mr X’s problem on his quest for superhero-dom is he’s been beset by villains. It is almost as if Mr. X has been the butt of a series of cruel jokes. At every turn, he’s been thwarted by nefarious schemes, perpetrated by an Evil Mastermind. That mastermind is Gordon Campbell.
This is the story as we know it. In 2005, Mr. X was elected to the provincial legislature. Swept in on a repudiation of Liberal policies, Mr. X knew it was only a matter of time before BC voters turned on the Liberals and kicked them out. He was quite content to be the rising star in the NDP caucus and bide his time until the powers that be threw Carole James under the bus. Then he would swoop in and save the day. Unfortunately, a couple of years into it, Carole James was still doing a reasonable job and had him tied up in actual work — far away from the spotlight. Meanwhile, the evil Gordon Campbell’s approval ratings were not dropping the way they should and it looked like this wait-and-see crap was going to take a lot longer than anybody figured. Besides, boring work on dreary committees with “backbenchers” and “hacks” was hardly the work of a superhero. Nor did it generate that many media sound bytes.
But all was not lost. In that same country, across the water in Gotham City, the ruling NPA party were having a meltdown. There were so many knives out that you’d have thought The Amazing Ginsu was having a convention. It was apparent to anyone with a political eye that, once the bleeding stopped Harold the Talking Penguin could beat these guys. Plus, in two years, the greatest show on earth was coming to town with a 5 ring media circus that would dwarf anything a lowly member of the provincial opposition could ever hope to get his mitts on. So, faster than you can say “Holy City Hall!” Mr. X stuffed his backpack, resigned his seat and cross the water. He was elected in a foregone conclusion and settled down to reap the media rewards, while carefully steering clear of the Transit police. Things were looking good — until disaster struck.
In 2010, the Olympic media machine descended on Gotham City like locusts over a harvest. There were so many cameras in town it looked like Canon threw up. But who seemed to be in front of every one of them? The evil Gordon Campbell! Campbell had a great time at the Olympics — waving the flag, talking to the media, dancing, singing, occupying centre stage. Johnny-come-lately dignitaries were pushed into the background while the big boys strutted their stuff. There were a few crumbs for Mr. X but nothing near what a Superhero deserved.
However, time was on Mr. X’s side. The scenario was easy. It was back to Plan A. BC voters were beginning to turn against the Liberals. Carole James was going to get close but still lose one more election. The bus was waiting, and Mr. X was ironing his cape. He would replace Carole James and face a diminished Liberal government ripe for the picking. Superhero status was within his grasp, but who should show up on the horizon? The evil Gordon Campbell! In a wicked move, he introduced the HST, and suddenly, it was no longer wait and see. Liberal numbers plummeted. Bill Vander Zalm was getting all the press coverage. The Liberals could lose the next election and Carole James stepped back from the brink. Mr. X wasn’t going to save anything except the price of a BC Ferry ride. Things were bad, but then they got even worse.
On Wednesday morning, November 3rd, the evil Gordon Campbell struck again and resigned – the last cold-blooded trick in the evil genius’s deck. Now the way is open for a new Liberal leadership with a new lease on life. Carole James isn’t going anywhere and Mr. X is stuck in Gotham City — cleaning out storm drains and dreaming of glory.
So, is this the end of Mr. X? Only time will tell but, as we all know, without supervillains, superheroes wither and die. We can only hope that fate has more in store for the mysterious Mr. X and that he doesn’t squander his powers shuffling the homeless between temporary shelters and making the world save for bike lanes.