Premier Gordon Campbell’s Credibility
In January 2003, Premier Campbell was arrested for drunk driving while vacationing on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Premier Campbell was stopped at 12:59 p.m. on a major highway after police observed him speeding and driving erratically. Premier Campbell failed the roadside breathalyzer test, blowing more than twice the allowable limit. He was arrested at 1:23 a.m. and released from jail the next day after posting bail of $275 US.
Upon returning to British Columbia, Premier Campbell publicly apologized for his actions and stated that he would plead no contest the driving while impaired charge. He also asserted that he would continue to serve as premier despite the incident.
The incident has negatively impacted the Premier’s credibility. Many voters have called for his resignation; even members of his cabinet have expressed concern. Health Minister Colin Hansen and Agriculture Minister John van Dongen stated that they wanted Campbell to stay on. However, both admitted that many of their constituents wanted the Premier to resign. Public service groups are also taking this opportunity to call attention to the dangers of drinking and driving. Executive Director Andrew Murie of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says an apology from Campbell isn't good enough and the premier should resign. “Premier Campbell should step aside and stay aside until all the consequences of this drinking and driving are dealt with.”
The issue will resurface in late March 2003, when the Premier is due in Hawaiian court. When convicted, Premier Campbell could lose his licence for up to three months, could face a small fine, and could be required to take alcohol counselling.