Campbell by Campbell's standards Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun dd Jan.
Should he quit? It's up to you and here are some key points
Les Leyne, Times Colonist dd Jan. 11, 2003
Past Charges Times Colonist (Victoria)
won't quit, Collins says Globe and Mail dd Jan.
Residents likely to ask explanation of conduct Robert Matas,
Globe and Mail dd Jan.
B.C. premier nabbed for drunk driving Jim Beatty, Vancouver
Sun dd Jan.
Judging Campbell by Campbell's standards
by Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, Saturday, January 11, 2003
VICTORIA - As a starting
point in deciding how Premier Gordon Campbell
should respond to the charge laid against him in Hawaii, one could consider
the words of Gordon Campbell himself.
For Mr. Campbell
has been anything but forgiving of politicians who have
found themselves -- as the euphemism has it -- "under a cloud"
He has not taken
the position, as some of his supporters hastened to do
Friday, that a person who stands accused should remain in office until
after their day in court.
On the contrary.
He has argued repeatedly that, in the public interest,
the presumption of innocence has to take second place to the need to
protect the integrity of the office.
The severity of his
views was evident from the moment Mr. Campbell entered
the legislature following a byelection win in the spring of 1994.
A cabinet minister
in the then New Democratic Party government had been
investigated and cleared of an accusation of conflict of interest. Mr.
Campbell told reporters that the minister should nevertheless have step-ped
aside while he was under investigation. He did not mince words.
to be quite explicit about this," Mr. Campbell declared. "When
the conflict commissioner decides there is enough to carry out an
investigation, I think that everyone would be better served if they
step-ped aside during the investigation."
And if he were premier?
"If I were being investigated, I think that
[stepping aside] would be a reasonable position for me to take -- yes."
of the position did not escape members of the press
gallery at the time. "Save that tape," a radio reporter joked,
A year later, Mr.
Campbell rolled out the hard line again, this time in a
way that left no doubt that it extended to the office of the premier.
The then premier,
Mike Harcourt, was under investigation by the conflict
of interest commissioner. Again the statement from Mr. Campbell: "The
premier should step aside for the duration of an investigation."
It should be done,
the Liberal leader argued, "to protect the integrity of
the premier's office."
A more lenient Gordon
Campbell was on display Friday in a statement issued
by his office three hours after the news broke than he had been charged
with drunk driving in Maui.
Gone was the hard-liner
who believed that politicians should step aside at
the mere suspicion that they had brought shame on to themselves and/or
Instead we got a
three-paragraph statement that made no mention of
stepping aside or resignation.
that "I have made a serious mistake," and a
perfunctory apology "to everyone including my family, my colleagues
people of B.C."
He acknowledged that
the police had him dead to rights: "Last night, I was
returning home from dinner with friends, and the Maui police pulled me
over. I was arrested and charged with driving a vehicle under the influence
of alcohol. I do not intend to contest the charge."
It closed with a
promise that he would make himself available to the media
on Sunday afternoon, ensuring the unanswered questions would fester for
least another two days.
But based solely
on the facts as admitted by the premier, he is guilty of
a serious error in judgement.
Drunk driving is
a serious, dangerous, criminal offence. Drunk driving by
a premier is arrogant disregard for the safety of others compounded with
reckless disregard for one's own reputation and political career.
It puts a whole new
colouration on those jokes about Mr. Campbell being a
control freak and a micromanager, as one Liberal supporter observed Friday
"You guys had
him mowing the lawn at the legislature. A premier who drives
his own car after he has been drinking is just plain stupid!"
Politicians do survive
controversies over their drinking problems. Ralph
Klein is the most obvious example.
But I have my doubts
that a premier lacking in Mr. Klein's charms -- a
premier whose policies have been as severe as his stance on the conduct
expected of those who hold high office, a premier who took office on a
promise to impose a new era on the squalid B.C. political scene -- can
survive this embarrassment.
The shame of those
police mug shots coming out of Hawaii will be hard for
many people to forget.
Mr. Campbell's statement
gave no hint of what might be coming Sunday.
My guess is he and
his advisers will try to gauge the public response over
the next day or so, then decide whether he should ask the public to forgive
him, or throw in the towel.
he quit? It's up to you and here are some key points
Saturday, January 11, 2003
It's your verdict. It's up to you. Is Premier Gordon Campbell obliged
quit? Or can he continue to govern this province, after acknowledging
apologizing for a mistake?
The political, media
and legal worlds were thrown for a loop just like
everybody else after the little item blipped across the Associated Press
wire: "Gordon Muir Campbell, DOB Jan. 12, 1948 ... charged DUI 1:23
Maui Jan. 10 ..."
But it was in the
B.C. Liberal Party and the provincial government that it
hit hardest. It's a measure of how stunning this development is that
neither the party nor the government managed to come up with an official
more or less pleaded guilty a few hours after the news
broke, but it's remarkable that in the year 2003 a government could let
something like this hang for hours on end without a comment.
were reeling. Cabinet ministers literally refused
to believe reporters who called with the news. Caucus members were stopped
in their tracks.
The reaction of one
of them -- which assumes the unproven charge will
stick -- neatly summed up one of the dividing points on the question that
arises. "It was a dumb thing to do ... But I know so many people
gone through this."
That's it in a nutshell.
It's a terribly awkward, stupid predicament to
have gotten yourself into. But how many of us have risked exactly the
There are some other
break points on which this decision will be made:
- Precedent -- There
is none. In Canadian politics, the custom is that if
you're convicted of a penal offence, you're obliged to resign. If you're
even charged with a serious offence, you're also expected to quit.
But is drunk driving
a serious offence? In Canada, it can be considered
very serious. But a veteran Hawaii lawyer said Friday that there it is
"petty misdemeanor," one step up from a traffic violation. The
penalty is five days in jail, and there is no chance whatsoever that he'll
get that. More likely is a fine of a few hundred dollars and a three-month
- Does it affect
his ability to do his job? Probably not. He was nearing
the end of a three-week holiday, where he was thousands of kilometres
from his job and on his own time. But he's the premier of B.C. He's never
off the job. Can he pronounce on justice issues now, or write sympathy
letters to victims of drunk drivers?
- Human sympathy
-- Alberta Premier Ralph Klein was known for having a
problem with alcohol. When he admitted he had a problem, he enjoyed a
of public support that may have even helped his admirable decision to
drinking. Campbell's father was an alcoholic who killed himself in 1961.
one has suggested Campbell has a drinking problem, but there is enough
sympathy around alcohol -- whether it's chronic abuse or a one-time mistake
-- that people may cut him some slack.
- Politics -- This
is where the cabinet members and the inner circle of
advisers will make the decision and it comes down to: can he get away
this? All the inner circle people will thrash it all out with a view to
viable Campbell is as a leader. Is he damaged goods? Has it affected his
ability to lead? Or is it an embarrassing episode that he can put behind
him? And by the way: who else have we got?
But part of that
decision, a part they'd like to forget, is: What standard
have Campbell and the B.C. Liberals expected of others over the long years
he was opposition leader? And that works decidedly against him staying
Campbell called for resignations throughout the New Democrat years.
Every time an NDP
cabinet minister was caught in a controversy, B.C.
Liberals trotted out the standard first line of attack: resign. They
insisted Glen Clark quit as premier the day he was charged. Those were
different circumstances, but a lot of people will expect Campbell to live
by the same rules he tried to impose on others.
And Campbell's party
has been quite hard on their own as well, bouncing
former Liberal MLA Jeremy Dalton out of caucus for some inappropriate
letter-writing, and accepting the resignation of a current MLA facing
charges out of a domestic dispute.
But the biggest factor
is what you think about all this. Campbell's future
is hanging on a public opinion verdict that is just forming this morning,
based on the facts -- assuming they are all out -- his acknowledgment
apology, his police mugshots and everyone's preconceived notions about
drinking and driving. If B.C. swings hard against him, he'll have to go.
you back him, or split, he'll stay.
What do premiers
and other cabinet ministers do when charged with criminal
- New Brunswick's
Richard Hatfield did nothing. Hatfield, the only premier
charged with a Criminal Code offence while in office, stayed in his job
while awaiting trial on a marijuana charge. He was eventually acquitted
possession of pot, which was found in his suitcase during the Queen's
- Tory Bernard Valcourt,
also from New Brunswick, resigned from the
federal cabinet in 1989 when charged with drunk driving after a motorcycle
crash that cost him an eye.
- Elijah Harper resigned
from the Manitoba cabinet in 1987 after refusing
to take a breath test and leaving the scene of an accident. He paid a
and later rejoined cabinet.
- B.C. cabinet minister
Jack Davis resigned his portfolio in 1978 after he
was convicted of defrauding the province by exchanging first-class airline
tickets for cheaper seats and keeping the difference.
- In 1958, B.C. forest
minister Robert Sommers became the first cabinet
minister in the Commonwealth to go to jail. He was imprisoned for five
years for conspiracy to accept bribes.
Ran with fact box
"Past Charges" which has been appended to the story.
2003 Times Colonist (Victoria)
Premier won't quit, Collins says
Globe and Mail
Jan. 11, 2003
B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell "intends to stay the course and
do the job that he was elected to do," said the province's finance
a day after the premier was charged in Hawaii with impaired driving.
Gary Collins told reporters in Vancouver on Saturday that
Campbell should not resign for what he called a "human and very terrible
"It's a personal
issue," Mr. Collins said. "It has nothing to do with his
job as premier."
Campbell issued an
apology late Friday after he was arrested early that
morning in Maui and charged with drunk driving. He said he would speak
media on Sunday afternoon.
Mr. Collins said
Saturday that he had spoken with Mr. Campbell earlier in
the day. He offered few details.
Mr. Collins acknowledged
the incident was politically damaging to the
Liberals, but said it would not set back the government's agenda.
"We have a big
job to do," he said. "We were elected with an overwhelming
mandate to do that job. He is the key part of that and we stand behind
Mr. Campbell was
pulled over by Maui police early Friday morning as he was
returning from dinner with friends. He was fingerprinted and photographed
before he posted bail of $257 (U.S.) , but Maui police would not say
whether he submitted to a blood-alcohol test.
In a statement issued
by his office, the premier, 54, said he did not
intend to contest the charge. A tentative court date of March 25 has been
Drivers in Hawaii
face charges of driving under the influence when they
are suspected of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration level above
First offences are
deemed petty misdemeanours that include a maximum
five-day jail term and fines ranging from $150 to $1,000. Convicted drivers
could also be forced to participate in a 14-hour alcohol counselling
program or complete up to 240 hours of community services. A first-offence
conviction also carries a mandatory 90-day suspension of driving
Residents likely to ask explanation
by Robert Matas
Globe and Mail
Saturday, January 11, 2003 Page A8
VANCOUVER -- Gordon
Campbell can expect some empathy when he returns home
to British Columbia to face the consequences of being charged with drunk
driving while on holidays in Hawaii.
But he should also
be prepared for a stern scolding from several British
Many are looking
for an explanation of why he was driving after he had
been drinking; some are looking for his resignation.
"It's a serious
issue any time a person makes a decision to drink and then
get behind the wheel of a vehicle," Helen Hoeflicker, president of
Greater Vancouver chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said in an
interview last night.
Judgment is the first
thing to go after having a drink, she said, then
vision and vigilance.
"We [MADD] say
no one should be in charge of a vehicle after even one
drink," said Ms. Hoeflicker, whose 27-year-old daughter, Sherri,
by a drunk driver seven years ago.
Ms. Hoeflicker hesitated
to comment on what Mr. Campbell should do.
However, the provincial government should take a tougher approach to drunk
driving, she said.
B.C. is the only
province that does not have mandatory rehabilitation for
drunk-driving convictions, she pointed out.
Ian Waddell, who was in provincial politics for five
years and in Ottawa for 14 years, said the incident is a serious matter
a person who has to show leadership.
"But it could
happen to anybody," he said.
Mr. Waddell did not
expect the incident would have any political
consequences for Mr. Campbell.
Mike Geoghegan, a
government and media relations consultant in Victoria,
agreed. He referred to several politicians who have weathered controversy
over alcohol, including U.S. President George W. Bush and Alberta Premier
"It's a water-cooler
issue," he said. "It will not have a significant
impact on B.C. politics."
At Mahoney's Sports
Bar and Grill in Vancouver, some patrons said they
were surprised to hear that Mr. Campbell had been arrested. They wondered
whether U.S. authorities were tougher on drunk driving than Canadian
"We were talking
about it at the office just before I left," said Sharon
McKay, a manager at a downtown office. "People were shocked when
the news. Then they just laughed hilariously."
premier nabbed for drunk driving
Beatty, with files from Craig McInnes
Saturday, January 11, 2003
VICTORIA -- Premier
Gordon Campbell apologized to his family and to British
Columbians Friday after he was arrested for drunk driving on the Hawaiian
island of Maui and spent about eight hours in a jail cell.
In a brief statement
late Friday, Campbell admitted his indiscretion and
said he will not contest the charge, which is not likely to involve jail
time but could result in him being fined and ordered to attend an alcohol
abuse rehabilitation program.
A conviction would
also result in his driver's licence being suspended in
both Hawaii and B.C.
"I have made
a serious mistake, and I want to apologize to everyone
including my family, my colleagues and the people of British Columbia,"
I was returning home from dinner with friends, and the Maui
police pulled me over. I was arrested and charged with driving a vehicle
under the influence of alcohol."
Campbell, who is vacationing
on the island, was driving a rented Honda sport
utility vehicle when he was stopped at 12:59 a.m. on the main highway
signs of intoxication" and was arrested at 1:23 a.m.
Friday, the Maui police department said in a news release.
Campbell was then
taken to Wailuku police station.
Hawaiian police said
Campbell was given the option of taking a blood test, a
breath test, both tests or neither, but wouldn't say which option he chose.
charged him with operating a vehicle under the influence
of an intoxicant. He was then fingerprinted, had his mug shot taken and
taken to a cell.
About eight hours
later, about 9:40 a.m., he was released when he posted
bail of $257 US.
He has been given
a court date of March 25.
spends his Christmas holidays in Hawaii with his family.
This year he was staying at the Napili Kai Beach Resort in Lahaina, on
west side of Maui.
Under Hawaiian law,
a person has committed the offence of driving under the
influence of intoxicating liquor if the driver has a blood-alcohol reading
of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
was an alcoholic and his brother, newspaper columnist
Michael Campbell, stopped drinking years ago.
But the charge against
Gordon Campbell shocked all those in British
Columbia, and particularly government officials in Victoria.
Those who know Campbell
personally say he enjoys social drinking, but is not
known as a heavy drinker.
charge is expected to politically wound Campbell, but
it isn't known how it will affect his political career as premier.