“Don’t march on Moscow.”
That’s one of the top lessons in strategy – whether military or otherwise. Basically what it means is, don’t overreach yourself.
Napoleon 200 years ago had pretty much conquered all of continental Europe. Then pride caused him to march on Moscow and he lost everything he and his followers had fought for. Hitler made much the same mistake about 130 years later.
It is hard to avoid the impression that those promoting the present recall campaign against Liberal MLAs aren’t following in the same footsteps.
A great many people were (and are) unhappy with the harmonized sales tax (HST) and, in particular, with how it was brought in. They campaigned and petitioned, forced Premier Gordon Campbell to resign, and caused there to be a referendum coming up on the question.
These are significant victories. They might not be everything the most diehard HST opponents might want, but they should not be disparaged.
The premier of the province has fallen on his sword to protect his party. Now, the MLAs being targeted for recall can say, with some justification, that those promoting the campaign are just trying to fight the last provincial election over again, but by different means.
Our parliamentary system, as with all democratic systems, is imprecise and imperfect (and as Churchill used to say, democracy is the worst of all possible systems of government – except for all the rest).
It seems to us that those opposed to the HST would make better use of their time getting ready to campaign in the upcoming referendum on the issue. The first place to start would be coming up with a better alternative taxation system.
In the longer term, people should be giving some thought to how our parliamentary system, which was largely developed during the 19th Century, can be reformed to meet the needs of the 21st.
The power of recall our parliamentary representatives (although possibly only under extreme circumstances) would appear to be a desirable part of such a reform package. It would be a great shame if the present recall campaign were to be carried to such extremes as to discredit the whole concept.