Most of the interesting things I could say about Gary Collins’ departure from the Campbell government (to, I kid you not, head up an airline) have already been said by Ian King. He notes in particular the gushing kudos from the Canadian Press coverage, particularly the claim that “During his four years as finance minister, Collins took the province from a $4-billion deficit to a $2-billion surplus while cutting taxes and programs.”

Not mentioned … is that said deficit was largely self-inflicted; more than half that total was due to the Liberals cutting taxes in their first week in office, while $750-million of the 2002-03 deficit was a ‚Äúprudence‚Äù cushion that was never intended to be spent. As for the new surplus, $800-million of it comes from an unexpected payment in equalization payments, almost all the rest from a spike in resource revenues due thanks to high energy prices. In fact, the last two NDP budgets (2000-01 and 2001-02) were also balanced with a modest surplus due to‚Ķ you guessed it, high energy prices.

The only things I have to add are these:

  1. What freakin’ Bizarro universe do we live in, that Gary Collins is being eulogized as the voice of calm centrist moderation in the Campbell government?
  2. He really couldn’t wait six months instead of leaving his constituents (ahem) up in the air?
  3. At what point do the oxygen masks drop down from the ceiling at the cabinet table in Victoria, and the ministers spend their remaining time in office with their heads between their knees? (Must… resist… follow-up joke…) God knows they’ve spent the past three and a half years with their (No! Don’t do it!) seats in the locked and right-wing position. (Oh, thank god. We keep our PG rating.)