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Published on Nov 26, 2009
VICTORIA - They are battle-scarred, but not bitter about the most brutal session BC Liberals have seen in a long time.
It's been three months of hurt for the Campbell government, and it started with a stunning admission about the size of the budget deficit.
Finance Minister Colin Hansen and Premier Gordon Campbell admitted they knew before the May 12 election, that the province would not meet its deficit projections of $495 million. The current figure is $2.8 billion.
It set the tone for pointed questions about what the liberals knew, when they knew it, and whether they'd mislead voters in the spring.
From there it was onto to backlash over the harmonized sales tax.
The opposition lined up with former political enemies to protest the HST.
If government was looking to turn things around by promoting the Olympics, a furor over 2010 games tickets reserved for politicians and business leaders didn't help.
And there were more distractions - millions cut from budgets - brought protests - from funding for the arts to autism programs to exotic bird sanctuaries.
But the biggest cuts were in health. $45 million dollars were carved from the Vancouver Island Health Authority budget: surgeries were cancelled and beds closed.
The NDP says the last three months boil down to one thing: deceit.
But with so much ammunition against the government, some point out the bar was not set particularly high for the NDP. Opposition Leader Carole James stumbled too.
In October, she proposed more taxes on big business. The idea quickly faded.
Premier Gordon Campbell says he care about the criticism.
While lurching from crisis to crisis, his government still managed to pass laws banning cell phones while driving, and bring in tighter lobbying rules.
There was also contentious back-to-work-legislation for ambulance paramedics.
The house doesn't sit again until after the 2010 Olympics. And by then, the government may well hope all the scandals, and all the political hot potatoes will be forgotten.