Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Incorrectly reading the tea leaves

I'm thinking that Gary Collins, B.C.'s finance minister until he
resigned today, may be readying himself for a future B.C. Liberal leadership run in addition to spending more time with his family.

This is a wild guess on my part, but I am reminded of the example of Bill Vander Zalm, who suddenly discovered in 1983 that he needed to spend more time with his family, only to return in 1986 to win the leadership of the Social Credit Party. He then served four years as B.C.'s premier.

A few years off from politics would allow Mr. Collins to spend time with his family and make some extra money. It would also allow him to disassociate himself from Gordon Campbell's government, and run for the leadership as a "new and improved" politician.

Interestingly, former B.C. deputy premier Christie Clark, who also recently quit politics to spend more time with her kids, is finding time to keep a media profile by criticizing her former party for not recruiting enough women into politics. I am wondering if she is also keeping her political powder dry. (Why do I say this? Well, if Clark really wanted to turn her back on politics completely, she could say "No comment" when asked about issues like this. Think of former premier Rita Johnston, who seemed to drop off the face of the earth after the Socreds lost the 1991 election. She merely retired, but political retirement for Johnston meant completely leaving the political scene.)

If Clark and Collins are making future political plans, they may both be banking on the B.C. Liberals narrowly winning the upcoming provincial election. A chastened Gordon Campbell would serve as premier for three or four more years and then "outsiders" Clark and Collins would run to replace him.

A B.C. Liberal loss in the next election would throw a wrench into the works. Campbell's job could then open up quickly and the next B.C. Liberal leader would presumably be given a chance to contest the next election.