Rothenburger: Why was 'nasty' MLA OK as a Liberal?

There might be something to the theory that Kevin Krueger has given up on politics and is getting his licks in before he departs. Or not.

The backbenches aren't much fun after you've been in the inner circle, and it's unlikely he'll see the inside of the executive council's chambers again any time soon.

Likewise, the chances of the Liberals staying in power after next year's election remain dim.

So, what does he have to lose?

Nothing, perhaps, as this week's events suggest. When Foghorn goes off on a tangent, the media listen. And write. And comment.

So when our Kamloops-South Thompson MLA came out swinging against former colleague John van Dongen, it was tasty stuff. Van Dongen, who left the Liberals some weeks ago to sit as a Conservative, was now "this little man with his jealousy and his self-serving behaviour."

Van Dongen, says Krueger, has "a nasty streak" and is "self-aggrandizing."

He had some words about NDP Leader Adrian Dix and Conservative Leader John Cummins, as well.

The headline on Vaughn Palmer's column in the Vancouver Sun was "Liberal MLA Krueger brings out the knives." Les Leyne of the Victoria Times-Colonist provided his reaction under the heading, "Krueger serves up hot stew of revenge."

Back in March, Krueger made the news for criticizing the performance of B.C.'s judges, claiming, "There are some real bad apples We have some real problem people on the bench."

While that elicited some guarded protest from within the B.C. Supreme Court, Krueger's fellow Liberals had little to say about it.

Not much is different with this week's diatribe. Premier Christy Clark brushed it off, calling him a "very passionate guy."

Indeed. This isn't new behaviour for Krueger - he has a habit of getting things off his chest in a colourful way, and it started before he got into cabinet. It continued while he was in cabinet, and since.

Krueger's mindset doesn't acknowledge that there could be anything the least bit good in the NDP or any party other than the Liberal party. When a Liberal changes colours, that person, at that moment, becomes worthy of the utmost scorn in Krueger's compartmentalized view of the political world.

One thing has changed, though. Krueger's profile in his home riding has diminished since he left cabinet. He has, between his occasional bouts of verbosity, gone quiet.

Maybe he's leaving the field to Lake so the rookie MLA, who scraped into office by a few hundred votes, has a better chance in 2013. Krueger, after all, won his seat comfortably in the last election.

And, maybe, Krueger is doing duty as a stalking horse for Clark's caucus, who feel the need to fight back against the ascending left, but don't quite know how to go about it.

Maybe he's saying things some of his fellow Liberals would like to say.

Whatever it is, there's just a hint of pretence in what he's doing. All of the things Krueger accused van Dongen this week of saying and doing - except for his court action on B.C. Rail - were said and done when Van Dongen was a Liberal. Krueger didn't blow any whistles then.

How was it OK being a nasty, jealous, self-serving, self-aggrandizing little man - to use Krueger's terminology - then, but not now?

mrothenburger@kamloopsnews.ca

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