‘Of course, things are a lot more collegial between us and the opposition than we let on. I know there's a tremendous amount of caring on both sides of the House when any member is ill or has problems. You see a lot of collegiality that people wouldn’t know exists by the way we carry on in our debate sometimes.” — B.C. Liberal MLA Kevin Krueger, Feb. 14, 2013
The Kamloops-North Thompson MLA must have been riding a wave of rapture after listening to the throne speech when he came up with that little burst of goodwill.
But it subsided quickly and this week he was back to his nasty new self.
The bombastic brawler used to include a tinge of humour in his assaults on all the poor misguided souls who didn’t see the righteousness of the B.C. Liberal cause.
But over the last while, all the fun has gone out of his approach, replaced by a nasty streak. He’s running wild and free now, in the last few weeks of his political career. And it isn’t pretty.
The latest example was his dismissal of the B.C. Conservative Party as a bunch of “unmitigated morons” and “scum” in an email flame-out.
After questions were raised Tuesday by a losing bidder about Jobs Minister Pat Bell’s role in picking the site for a Prince George wood technology centre, the B.C. Conservative Party called for Bell’s head.
Party leader John Cummins said he should be suspended, and Bell’s track record is an “unmitigated disaster.”
That brought Krueger snarling out of his corner. He composed an email that goes well over the line in tone and vocabulary.
Opening with a little love tap, he told the Conservatives they are “unmitigated morons.
“Pat Bell is beloved in Prince George, for good reason. There is not one of you scum worthy to tie his shoes — nor tall enough.”
Politicians usually stick with something safe, like “yours sincerely” when signing a note.
Krueger closed it with: “What idiots you are.”
It’s safe to say that the note brings an end to the B.C. Liberals’ on-and-off effort to reach out to the Conservatives.
It seems like only yesterday Premier Christy Clark was jetting off to the “Conservative family reunion” in Ottawa to hang out with Preston Manning and learn how to network with all the right-wing thinkers.
Actually, it was almost a year ago, when there was just enough concern about a mildly surging conservative move in B.C. to warrant her trying to head it off.
Cummins ran into a string of internal party problems soon after that, and the B.C. Liberals decided they could stop worrying about being outflanked on the right.
So, as Krueger makes clear, the half-hearted outreach program has come to a screeching halt.
There was the usual eye-rolling in the B.C. Liberal caucus as Krueger’s flame-out made the rounds. Caucus officials tut-tutted and disavowed the tone. But it’s safe to assume Krueger will skate through the final few minutes of the third period untouched.
After all, they need every member they have if the budget comes to a vote.
In an interview Wednesday, Krueger said Bell’s medical issue was foremost in his mind. Bell announced last week he won’t be running again because of a recently diagnosed aneurysm.
Krueger said his colleague is in a very stressful time and “they put out this nasty smear news release. I just felt they were so far out of line.
“It’s a strong word (scum). But as far as I’m concerned they’re putting a good man’s life in jeopardy by adding to his general stress.”
Just So You Know: The argument over Krueger’s nasty email coincided with anti-bullying day. So he was wearing a pink tie to support the cause, while defending himself from charges of using bullying language.
He turned the tables at one point, asking: “Isn’t it bullying for a retired MP on a pension who says he wants to be premier (to) attack a cabinet minister over an allegation that’s completely unproven?”
The best bullying defence is a good bullying offence.
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