More Farnworth laugh lines


As a follow-up on New Democratic Party leadership hopeful Mike Farnworth, some more of his laugh lines that did not make the cut in the newsprint version of my column today.

On the spring 1993 effort by then B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Wilson to blame his troubles on "wicked little smurfs," in the legislative press gallery. "If he's such an in-touch, nineties kind of guy, with this vision of where British Columbia should be headed, I'd like to remind him that Smurfs have been out for the last five years, and it's trolls that are now in."

On discovering that B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Campbell had weekended at the Whistler condominium of developer friend Jim Moodie. "You can criticize NDP economic policies but at least we know that Moody's is an investment service, not a vacation getaway.''

On the 1994 decision of several Social Credit MLAs to leave the Grace McCarthy led party and reconstitute themselves as Reform B.C. "Now you have the orthodox Socreds and the Reform Socreds. I'm not sure how you tell them apart. Are the orthodox Socreds the ones who say "Grace" before they take their seats?"

After the Nisqually earthquake shook the provincial capital during the closing days of the Ujjal Dosanjh NDP administration: "The premier's speech last evening had the desired effect. It moved British Columbia.''

On being outfitted for the necessary bullet-stopping garments during his three month democracy-watch posting in Baghdad's red zone in 2004: "I'm from Canada. Body armour and Kevlar could just as easily be a brand of condoms and type of cologne."

On being shown by the guards at his Baghdad hotel where they kept the just-in-case store of assault rifles: "I said, 'If I have to use an AK-47, then we are in deep ***.'"

On how he knew when it was time to wrap up the Iraqi posting and come home: "I'd stopped counting the number of booms in the night."

On ending his tour of duty with democracy watch in the Balkans and the Middle East to return to a British Columbia where the balance was then 77 government MLAs and just two members of the Opposition. "I spent the last three years working in one-party states that were trying to become democracies. So I decided to come back to a democracy that was trying to become a one party-state."

On the B.C. Liberal proposal to replace the province wide in-person-at-polling-stations vote on the harmonized sales tax with a vote-by-mail scheme: "The Ed McMahon-style Publishers Clearing House mail-in ballot."

On the state of affairs at B.C. Rail when the B.C. Liberals decided to maintain a top heavy executive suite even after they'd sold the business and rolling stock to CN: "No trains, no steam, not even Thomas the Tank Engine."

On the discovery that the B.C. Liberals were thanking workers on Olympics-related construction projects with ersatz "gold" medals emblazoned with the name of "Premier Gordon Campbell" and little else. "A gold medal symbol of how the government is out of touch. The premier's personal bling program. The premier's personal ego vanity plates. If you want to honour the workers of this province, put their name on it, not the premier's name."

Further to that episode where the Liberals spent $70,000 to buff up a picture of their caucus by photo-shopping in some missing members: "They didn't need to spend $70,000 of taxpayers' money to make caucus look effective or better. A few dollars on a Thigh-master and a "Buns of Steel" video would have done the job. "

Finally, for now, his nickname for cabinet minister George Abbott, who in the last session of the legislature was regularly lending a helping hand to his successor as health minister Kevin Falcon, in wrestling with the hefty documentation necessary to field matters in question period: "Binder boy."


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