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Issues & Experts >  Issues & Experts Archive > Week of Jan. 13 – 20, 2003

Week of Jan. 13 – 20, 2003

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Jan 14, 2003
Another premier weathers the storm…He faces charges for driving under the influence while on a personal holiday and, in an emotional appeal, Premier Gordon Campbell has asked British Columbians to forgive his admitted bad judgement. While the polls which followed his press conference suggest the premier faces an uphill battle, some experts say he will survive but not unscathed. "He'll ride it out, but he will lose some face in the long run," says SFU political scientist Patrick Smith. Smith says his biggest problem is that he applied a standard — that of contrition — to himself that he would not allow others. "Most BCers understand the human nature argument," adds Smith. "It's when it's cloaked in tough standards now overlooked that it sticks in some craws." Despite the fallout Smith predicts he’ll carry on. "He'll lead us into the 2005 election is my bet." Meanwhile, SFU business professor Lindsay Meredith, who looks at political marketing, can assess the premier’s chosen course of action in response to the charge as well as his options.

Patrick Smith, 604.291.1544 (home), patrick_smith@sfu.ca
Lindsay Meredith, 604.29.-3653; lindsay_meredith@sfu.ca

What the voters say…SFU political scientist Kennedy Stewart has recently been examining polls — more specifically, the difference between public support for the Liberal party and public support for the premier. He found in terms of the party, the Liberals’ popularity has been holding at about 45 per cent over the last few months. "However, Gordon Campbell's personal popularity is in a free-fall," says Stewart, an assistant professor in SFU’s graduate urban studies program. In March 2002, 45 per cent of British Columbians approved of Campbell’s performance, but by December that dropped to 37 per cent. "If the gap between the party's popularity and dissatisfaction with the premier widens beyond its current level of about eight per cent, I think Mr. Campbell will face challenges to his leadership within the party. This latest incident will be of little help in that case."

Kennedy Stewart, 604.268.7913; kennedys@sfu.ca

Lawful access: what does it mean for privacy?…Canada recently set the stage for drastic changes in laws pertaining to the rights of government agencies to access personal correspondence, especially electronic communication. The controversy over the proposed lawful access legislation has provoked intense discussion among those with a concern for civil liberties and the protection of individual privacy. Richard Smith, an associate professor in SFU’s school of communication, says the move is significant as it potentially establishes new rules for what many people forget to attend to — the Internet infrastructure. "It could be argued that these underpinnings are the logical equivalent of printing presses in the modern age and restrictions or controls on their use is an important issue for democratic government," says Smith, who is also director of SFU’s centre for policy research on science and technology (CPROST). The centre is co-sponsoring (with the Vancouver Community Network) a panel discussion on lawful access and Canadian privacy rights on Monday Jan. 20 at 7 p.m . at the Vancouver Public Library. Panelists will look at the combined effects of the proposed new legislation, new anti-terrorism laws and use of the latest spyware technology, and tools to help protect online privacy. Panelists include SFU PhD student Michael Markwick, who studies security issues and the effect of the climate of fear on the integrity of citizenship; Margo Langford, of New Media Law and Business Affairs Consulting, and Vincent Gogolek, policy director of the BC Civil Liberties Association

Richard Smith, 604.291.5116; smith@sfu.ca
Michael Markwick, 604.925.2864