Why Is There No Leadership In BC Government?

As a supporter of Liberal Leader, Christy Clark, I am saddened and dismayed to see how ineffective her leadership style is as she deflects and avoids the very real fact that the NDP party can only lose the next election if they forget to file the election papers or perhaps if they get Clint Eastwood to do a supportive, humorous speech for them.

So what happened?

When Gordon Campbell left the Premier’s office, the Liberal Party, the Province of BC and yes, the entire country of Canada, the gate was opened for two options: Either the new leader could patch up the wounds inflicted by the poorly-introduced Harmonized Sales Tax, or that new leader could continue to drive the party further into the murky depths of voter distrust. It appears that Christy Clark has accomplished the latter. The deck was stacked against her however and in all fairness I am not certain at this point if anyone in the Liberal party could have turned the ship of fate around.

With the recent resignations of two distinguished Liberal Party cabinet ministers, Kevin Falcon and George Abbott, it is clear that the party is bent on cannibalizing itself from the inside out. Of course these were not the first well-publicized resignations of Liberal MLA’s that have occurred since Christy Clark took office, and probably will not be the last. Many Liberal MLA’s realize that not only can they not possibly even win their own seats in the next election, but that the Liberal party is finished for at least one term as the party of choice for the BC electorate. They would rather offer an honourable resignation now than go down in disgrace with other Liberal MLA’s who choose to stay the course.

All the NDP’s Adrian Dix and his candidates have to do is “nothing”

 The worst thing the NDP could do now is to campaign on a platform of “let’s get rid of the nasty Liberals,” or spout a lot of left-wing, socialistic rhetoric. The answer for them is to take the high road in order to garner support from as many “fence-sitting” and disengaged voters as possible; thereby assuring a majority position in the Legislature. The last thing they want is a strong coalition of Liberal, Conservative, and Independent MLA’s sitting on the other side of the aisle, hell-bent on slowing them down after they take office.  Another important thing to consider is that the NDP too, will have to provide strong leadership to the entire electorate when they get into office. That is something  they seemed to have in short supply during each of the previous opportunities they had to run the Government.

What the Liberals did to end up in this indefensible position was to forget about their voters

The Lib’s failed to follow one of the cardinal rules of leadership…inclusion. Despite the fact that BC enjoyed one of the best economic records of all of the Provinces in Canada, the people could not forgive Gordon Campbell and Colin Hansen for dropping the HST bomb and bringing it into law without so much as a mention to the electorate. In fact they had suggested prior to the previous election that HST would not be part of their economic plan…and yet we are still dealing with and it will cost $millions to get rid of it. The HST is, in and of itself, not the real problem since we all had to pay the higher combined GST and PST taxes prior to its introduction.  It is clear that BC voters are more concerned about open, honest communication than they are about economic security at any cost.

What has happened to the BC voters now is simple disengagement

Poor leaders in business disengage their employees with arrogance, abuse of position and exclusion. Poor leaders in Government disengage their electorates in the same way. We have evolved as a civilization and we now accept that politicians are not all-powerful. Instead, we believe they are our employees and that we have the right to fire them every four years. We are not afraid of them and we will not follow any politician we do not trust, regardless of any other qualities he or she might possess or what successes they might have had in the past. Rather than relying on old-fashioned partisan dogma, the voters in BC vote for change whenever the party in power does something to fall out of favour…even if it mean changing from right to left or left to right.

BC voters have been flip-flopping from left-wing to right-wing Governments for decades. It almost seems that most BC people don’t really support any specific party or candidate consistently. Instead, they support leaders who offer the best options for them in the most open, honest and effective manner possible. At this point, even if Adrian Dix and his crew have absolutely nothing to offer as a platform, the “left-coast” voters will vote for change…for change’s sake.

The Government of British Columbia is the largest business in the Province and it needs to run like one

 Despite serious judgement errors made by the Campbell Government, it fell to Christy Clark’s cabinet to provide solid leadership and push the voters past those gaffes. Instead, due to an apparent lack of understanding of what followers actually want, the Liberal party is heading towards certain termination of its position as the Board of Directors of British Columbia. As is the wont of the BC electorate, the CEO and Chairman of the Board, Christy Clark will soon be ousted by her shareholders.

Everyone who wants to seek public office should take a course on leadership before filing nomination papers. They need to understand the essential elements of leadership and embrace the fact that they are in a subservient position to those who elect them. In business, we have accepted “servant leadership” as the best way of building engagement, loyalty and support from our people. It is a proven and universally accepted method of getting the best results from any group of people. Despite that, there appears to be no equivalent methodology in Government.

I bear no malice toward any of the individual MLA’s on either side of the house. They are good people with families, homes, dreams and challenges like the rest of us. They are however, held to a higher standard and their style of leadership is paramount to their success.

Why do politicians not understand that leadership is not about governing as much as it is about serving?

Perhaps we need to get rid of the name, “Government” and change it to, “Serverment” to reinforce the message that the voters are really the ones in charge. In the mean time, it is a good bet that we will flip-flop from left to right, every four, eight or twelve years for the foreseeable future.

It almost seems as though the terms “Government” and “Leadership” are mutually exclusive….

Just my opinion….

All The Best

Wayne Kehl



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