“Content thyself to be obscurely good.  When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, the post of honour is a private station.”……..Joseph Addison

The Conservatives have lost touch with the people.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in Kim Campbell’s Vancouver Centre riding.  As we watch her flip-flopping around the country trying to figure out just what the voter wants to hear, back home she’s anything but B.C.’s favourite daughter and her opponents are having a field day, pointing to her record as an MP.

In the meantime, her advisors are listening very carefully to the response the other parties are receiving from the electorate.  How else could one explain her complete turn around on the employment issue?  Actually, whatever she is saying is so vague, no one has really figured out what she means.

While NDP leader Audrey McLaughlin and MP Svend Robinson court the Vancouver Centre gay vote for candidate Betty Baxter, Liberal candidate Dr. Hedy Fry insists her promises to gays and lesbians in Vancouver Centre are more valuable because, “Liberals stand a chance of forming the next government.”

On the other hand, Kim Campbell finds herself in a very precarious position.  For instance, why many in her riding would like to hear would go over like a bombshell in other parts of the nation.  Not to worry – her handlers have what they conceive to be a foolproof plan and it’s called “smart bombing Vancouver Centre.”  One has to admit it is almost ingenious, although somewhat dishonest.

Campbell has stayed away from her riding, citing a busy itinerary which necessarily includes other parts of the country.  But, and it’s a big but, Hedy Fry in an interview with the new Vancouver Gay & Lesbian biweekly Xtra West, countered, “She’s (Campbell) only been the national leader for three months.  What happened for the almost five years before that when she was a member of Parliament purely and solely representing Vancouver Centre…when I talk to people they tell me they make appointments to see her but they never get to see her, they see some small staff person who makes no decisions or they make an appointment to meet with her and it’s cancelled.”  Fry also pointed out that Campbell’s constituency office is on the second floor of a brownstone building and the only indication that it’s Kim Campbell’s office is if you read the directory in the lobby.  “It’s the best kept secret in Vancouver Centre.”

So just how will Campbell’s managers handle the battle brewing in her riding?  They will take the intellectual approach.  After all she has been able to keep touch with 90 per cent of her constituents in the past year by using the maximum mailing privileges for an MP.  And although her two female opponents have launched formidable campaigns, neither can match the nearly 2,000 people willing to help Campbell.  They will work the phones, reach and index voters.  They will discover exactly what issues are important to each individual voter.  Then they will canvas the voters backed by the information in their computer data banks.  And you can believe each voter will receive the answer they desire.

In the meantime, Campbell’s office has continually assured Xtra West that the prime minister is willing to do an interview with their paper, “a gesture which would mark the first occasion a Canadian prime minister has spoken to a gay paper.”  However, this will not occur until after the election.

In British Columbia, many fed up with political rhetoric are looking for an alternative vote, not an alternative lifestyle.  The truth would be a refreshing change.  After all, it wasn’t so long ago that the three major parties, along with a bunch of petty-minded bureaucrats tried to ram the much-flawed Charlottetown Accord down the throats of the Canadian electorate.  Do you remember who was on our side during the debate?