October 1, 1999
Wilson, Premier? - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
This past week Rafe Mair and Vaughn Palmer have been bugging the living daylights out of Gordon Wilson. It seems that Wilson fibbed on his biographical sketch and in a statement he made in the House, that he was at Martin Luther King Jr.ís famous ďI Have A DreamĒ speech. I like Michael Smyth of The Province think itís a minuscule matter, but I cannot disagree with Rafe Mair or Vaughn Palmer, because it directly has bearing on Mr. Wilsonís credibility. Now Mr. Wilson has categorically denied he tried to lie about his record. I donít know if I believe him, but whatever the case is, I am personally worried that should Mr. Wilson become premier, he might lie through his teeth, on matters far important than where he was during the 60ís. Many have said, including Rafe, that Wilson would be a good premier. Wilson was not part of the current NDP mess, and his ideas are well articulated and attractive to many British Columbians. From the moment he joined the NDP cabinet, last January, many, including myself have asked whether he is a true New Democrat. Anyone who has led the Liberal party, as well as the short-lived Progressive Democratic Alliance, canít possibly be an NDPer too, can it?
Well according to him and his wife Judi Tyabji, they are. For me, there is something unsettling in the fact he led the opposition party, that is in opposition to them right now. I have called Mr. Wilson, an opportunist. And I think he is. He knew he had to leave the Liberals after his affair with Tyabji, and he also knew he couldnít win the premiership with the PDA. So if you canít beat Ďem, join Ďem, and thatís exactly what he did. Former-Premier Glen Clark and current premier Dan Miller, seem to be big fans of his. His recent cabinet shuffle, only helped his chances. The annointment of Wilson is unfair, because folks like Joy Macphail and Ujjal Dosanjh wonít have a chance anymore.
The date of the convention, February 20, 2000, only helps Wilsonís chances. It buys him time to build support, time that will hurt Dosanjh, who would have won the leadership should the convention be held this October or November. With Svend Robinson out of the picture, the three shots worth betting on are Wilson, Macphail and Dosanjh. Corky Evans will probably throw his hat in the race, but he isnít going to have a snowballs chance in hell, in clinching the leadership. I would hope Dosanjh will win the race, not only is he bright, articulate and honest, heíd make a good premier. But, after being tainted by trying to stab Glen Clark in back, he could drop out. I think if Dosanjh wonít seek the leadership, Macphail vs. Wilson will be a terrific race. Macphail has great NDP grassroots and union support. Sheís dye-in-the-wool New Democrat, and she represents much of the platform Glen Clark was. That could also hurt her though, because that may stand up within the NDP, but it wonít in front of the people of British Columbia. Wilsonís chances are in that heís got the support of Clark, Dan Miller and Moe Sihota. Heís also represents the partyís want of moving the party to the centre. Weíll all see whatíll happen, because February 20th, is a hell of a ways away, and anything can happen from now till then.
Questions and comments may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
An archive of Joseph Planta's previous columns can be found by clicking HERE .