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2 min

Vander Zalm for premier

Slim pickings and the status quo

You know the pickings are slim in BC when I’m rooting for Bill Vander Zalm for premier.

Sure, he puts the nuts in Bible-thumping, hyper-conservative, rightwing nuts. And he wasn’t exactly homo-friendly the last time he held the reins in this province. But at least he’s trying to reinvent himself — which is more than I can say for any other horse in the race at this point. Carole James, Gordon Campbell and their cut-from-the-same-cloth wannabe successors? Mary, please.

Thank god for a little dissent.

To former Liberal cabinet minister Bill Bennett, a New Year’s salute to your courage to publicly defy caucus silence and question your boss.

To Jenny Kwan, a champagne toast to your courage to publicly challenge your boss and speak up for the people who want change in this province.

To everyone else bemoaning this unbecoming state of affairs, this implosion of both major parties at once: a dull round of “Auld Lang Syne.” Nothing like a little simultaneous implosion to make a new year bright, I say.

It’s not like the status quo is so wildly successful that we should preserve it at all costs, anyway. I, for one, am itching for a little reinvention.

Two leadership races, two leadership voids just aching to be filled, two leaders turfed by their own colleagues who couldn’t stand the same old anymore. This has the makings of a great moment: the field is wide open, the province begging for redirection.

I feel a rare New Year’s resolution coming on.

Now if only some real leaders with new ideas would step forward.

I hear Gregor Robertson doesn’t want the job. Too bad. It’s not like he’s been wildly successful as mayor either, but I generally like his priorities and his pragmatic approach to politics. Plus, he had me at his bike lanes.

But so far Robertson is playing it coy.

Not so for Kevin  “I Think We’ll Suddenly Keep St Paul’s Hospital in the West End” Falcon. Falcon’s about-face announcement in June — just 48 hours after we published our investigative report on the hospital’s potential new False Creek site, its owners and their ties to the BC Liberals — followed seven years of dodged questions and closed-door meetings.

Of course, Falcon dismissed any conflict-of-interest questions as “silly.” I dismiss Falcon as business as usual. I’ll take my new premier with a side of transparency, thank you.

Then there’s Christy Clark. She was education minister when Lorne Mayencourt launched his Safe Schools Task Force in 2002 to supposedly rid BC’s schools of homophobia. Under Clark’s watch, the recommendations came back weak. And they didn’t mention homophobia at all. Some say Clark would be a gutsy breath of fresh air. I’m not convinced. (Christy, if you’re listening, call me! Convince me.)

Then there’s Mike de Jong. Not bad. As BC’s attorney general and head prosecutor in 2010, he oversaw the first two successful hate crime designations sought and granted in years. Smells like a potential policy shift to me.

Granted, no one will confirm de Jong’s formal initiation of a new approach, but somebody must have set a new tone in that department. And he did tell Xtra in April that evidence of homophobia should be presented in court  — even if that evidence is less than obvious.

Among the candidates so far declared, I’d say de Jong leads the pack. He might even be that gust of fresh air I’m longing for — albeit disguised in a status quo suit.

But I’m holding out for the sequins.

Here’s to a rambunctious 2011 full of change, redirection and simultaneous eruptions.