Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sometimes shoes are just shoes Ms. Kwan

Yesterday was budget day in British Columbia and Liberal finance Minister Carole Taylor, following the tradition of finance ministers wearing a new pair of shoes on budget day, wore "a snappy pair of $600 Guccis" from Holt Renfrew.

Who cares, right? Well, NDP finance critic Jenny Kwan seems to. Kwan seems to be making an issue of Taylor's footwear choice as some kind of grand symbol of the gap between rich and poor in BC, how Gordon Campbell is out of touch with the working people, workers of the world unite, yada yada. Said Ms. Kwan:

"That was her choice," NDP finance critic Jenny Kwan said of the tradition whereby the finance minister wears new shoes when presenting a budget. "But they're also a reflection in terms of the budget related to the shoes. While she can afford Gucci shoes, many British Columbians could not. And the budget should have reflected the government's acknowledgement of how average British Columbians' every-day lives have been hard hit by the government agenda over the last four years....

"I would have hoped the minister of finance might have chosen a pair of shoes that would be more practical for British Columbians, that were longer lasting into the future."

Aren't people always complaining that guys pay too much attention to what female politicians are wearing? This is just as silly. Sometimes shoes are just shoes. It's stupid crap like this that distracts from the real issues. So Jean Chretien took his cabinet from the swearing-in to their first meeting in a bus, or Stephen Harper rented minivans, this is photo-op crap that means nothing. What message would running shoes have sent? Flats? Sandals? For the record though, $600 for shoes, what's up with that? As long as she didn't expense them though, I don't care.

To be clear I don't like the Campbell Liberals, I find them far too conservative for my liking. I also liked the moxie Kwan and Joy McPhail showed as a two-person opposition for four years. But there's plenty to attack the BC Liberals about on their record without resorting to superficial crap like this that makes you look silly.

Taylor's shoes lack soul, Kwan charges
$600 Guccis send wrong signal, party says
Miro Cernetig, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2006

VICTORIA -- Finance Minister Carole Taylor's defence of her shoes she wore to Tuesday's budget -- a snappy pair of $600 Guccis -- won applause from the peanut gallery of special interests and financial analysts at the back of the briefing room.

But the New Democratic Party saw those Guccis, picked up at Holt Renfrew, as emblematic of a budget and minister out of touch with British Columbians not prospering quite as much in the economic current boom.

Finance minister faces questions over $600 'budget day shoes'

Canadian Press

Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2006

VICTORIA -- Despite the stylish shoes, Carole Taylor portrayed herself as a cost conscious shopper in presenting her first full budget Tuesday as B.C.'s finance minister.
"I believe strongly in infrastructure investment,'' joked Taylor, former chairwoman of the CBC who was first elected to the legislature last May. "My shoes are amortized over 20 years.''

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CoteGauche said...

Hey - I'll have to check out this budget. If the best criticism the NDP can come up with is about Ms. Taylor's choice of footwear, then this might be a worthwile budget.

love, sydney said...

I'm a Liberal (federally only -- the BC variety is pure garden shed Socred) and a journalist too, but maybe from your position way out there you missed much of the tone that the media gave the 'unveiling' of Taylor's budget. Those tootsies were big news from what turned out to be a boring budget. The newsies spent some critical question time and video tape on those shoes. It was the media's persistent prodding on the pricey slip-ons that finally lured Kwan into throwing them into a proletariat-like allegorical reference. Although she was perhaps clumsy in accepting the comparison, it came from the mouth of anxious scribes.
I like Jenny and I like Carole. In our wildly polarized province these kinds of pitches, whether softball or slider aimed at either side of the house, can usually provide a colourful quote to liven up the dullest story. Just don't put all the blame on Jenny K.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Being in Toronto I don't get the clearest picture of BC politics or the BC budget. The shoes thing just seems to have domianted the coverage I've seen, and Kwan's comments just seem silly to me. Even if her comments came in the middle of a long media scrum, she's enough of a veteran to know better.

Budd Campbell said...

The shoes were in fact a major political blunder on Carole Taylor's part, on a par with Joe Clark losing the luggage. The shoes ARE inordinately expensive, and they look silly.

Furthermore, they are imported.

Former Fin Min Joy MacPhail knew what she was doing when she spend about $250 to $300 to by a pair of Canadian-made Dayton's, produced at a family-owned plant in her own East Vancouver district.

Taylor has displayed a kind of goofy yuppie fetish for things that are ugly, but are valued nonetheless soley because they are expensive. And what's worse, she has been completely unpatriotic.

If someone can find a more complete rub-out than that, I would like to hear about it.