Promises Bloom in the Spring Tra La

Why does President Donald Trump hold up his latest Presidential Decree for the TV camera to zoom in on his heavy-handed, carefully rehearsed signature? Is it to prove that he can spell and sign his own name? Or is he seeking praise for the artistic flourish he uses to link first name with last to make it one word?

Funny business, the President of one of the most powerful nations in the world signing supposedly historic documents and putting on a show fit for Sesame Street. But, nothing unusual I suppose, for the dog and pony show USA politics have become since last November.

To find any serious political talk these days, we have the good fortune of being able to watch our BC style politicians flitting across the silver screen from sawmills to factories, to schools to hospitals, dispensing promises like Gilbert and Sullivan’s “ The flowers that bloom in the spring Tra La, We welcome the hope that they bring Tra La.” They’re gorgeous when first picked, brighten many a room and heart – and fade all too quickly.

Still, it must be stated that our politicians are a calming relief when compared with the post-election chaos south of the 49th Parallel. In BC, as we head for the polls in May, we are being promised better government by all the candidates running – continued balanced budgets by the Liberals; almost always balanced budgets by the Greens; and virtually no commitment on balanced budgets by the NDP, whose past record while in government would indicate balancing the books isn’t all that important.

When the three leaders are on the same platform, they tend to be civil to each other – although on their recent TV gong show NDP John Horgan was pushed close to a temper tantrum by studious questions from Green leader Andrew Weaver. Horgan defends his sometimes anger in debate or when making public statements as “passion” for justifiable causes. It is not a strong defence.

Liberal leader Christy Clark, the most experienced politician of the three, kept her sometimes cheeky grin under control. It’s her best and worst weapon on television. Sometimes it conveys confidence with a happy outlook; sometimes it’s just a flashy smile designed to cover up uncertainty.

Taken all ‘round, I thought it a fairly reasonable showing by would-be leaders, except when candidates tried to talk over each other when making or challenging a point. Horgan was the worst of the three, his voice rising as he tried to overpower his debating opponent with volume rather than logic. But, all three were guilty of shout-down attempts when they would have been better off conceding the floor, and then quietly reprimanding the offender for rudeness.

Who won the debate? I don’t think there was a clear winner, but nor did I expect one. I think Andrew Weaver showed tremendous improvement over his first fling four years ago. Christy Clark was, well, Christy Clark, ebullient, self-confident and unfazed under pressure. John Horgan – chin out, voice raised – was to me the least impressive of the three seeking to become our leader in troubled times.

Any calls on an election winner? Not from me. I may be tempted next Sunday to venture a thought on what I would like to see happen. But there will be no guessing on what will happen. I leave that to the pollsters with their unimpressive record for calling winners in BC or anywhere else in recent times.


  1. “Jimmy” as the late Hon. Garde B Gardom used to frequently call you. Thought I’d let you know that I share your views of the great BC “non-debate”. Call it a shouting match…. I don’t know why the TV barons seem to think that their formats are what the public are looking for….I think I’d rather seem a media panel asking the questions directly to candidates and only allowing responses directly to the panel. NO ATTEMPT TO CALL IT A DEBATE…. call it MEDIA PANEL FOR THE LEADER”S or something…Anyhow…I was looking for more indepth from their platforms on housing and healthcare and am really none the wiser after that hour and one half…..and the silliness of President Trump’s White House shenanigans is just too much to deal with. My my….How do we put Humpty Dumpty back together again? Our system of democracy is in need of fixing….You’d think this great internet device would help…but it doesn’t seem to…ANY THOUGHTS on what needs to be done? Thanks in advance.

  2. I am relieved that B.C.politics has not sunk to the level we see in the U.S. but when one sees what’s happening in the rest of the world it is reasonable to view B.C. as an outlier.

  3. Hello Jim. Re leader`s behaviours in the TV debate. ( your comments- third to last paragraph) . Despite the moderator`s opening comments warning how she would deal with infractions (cut off their mikes etc.),, I cannot recall her uttering a word when respect for the person speaking was violated by one of the candidates All she had to do was to close them all off, make a judgement as to who “deserved the floor” assign it to that person, and if they were taking undue time, cut them off and Say Mr –”MAKE YOUR POINT” – cut them off if they do not, and reassign the floor.

    Or have I forgotten one of the moderator`s responsibilities- or worse still I am just wrong? What I have said above was taken from experience, not from printed material on the topic.

    If the moderator fails to follow protocol, the person who feels they were interrupted can give the “interruptor” a bit of time to finish. Then come back with a well formed rebuke, then go on to make their point. An act requiring expertise, and not without hazards! A slip can be taken as weakness . Cheers, Al Pelter

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