Archive for 1 June 2017

Orr, perhaps not.

1 June 2017

Former Liberal MLA Sheila Orr penned “Comment: Green-Liberal alliance would have served B.C. better”

My response, “Orr, perhaps not” in … let’s see now … how about green! 🙂

As a partisan B.C. Liberal, I obviously find the agreement made between the Greens and the New Democrats hard to swallow. No doubt.

Let me explain why. I do not think that Green Leader Andrew Weaver or his two rookie colleagues have really thought out or understand the urban-rural split. Weaver and his “rookies” didn’t think or understand? This is off to a good start.

This issue is about the future of the province, and this is why a Liberal-Green agreement would have made common sense. It would have been better for the province. It’s fair and balanced. Apparently Weaver and his rookies are not smart enough to know this is about the future of the province, nor are they sensible, fair or balanced.

An NDP-Green alliance concentrates the decision-making power in the hands of the urban centres. Lots of lattes will be consumed whilst sitting around fancy, warm boardrooms making decisions, while the Tim Hortons crowd lining up in their trucks at 6 a.m., going to work, will be left out in the freezing cold. Because no one in the Lower Mainland or on the Island gets up and goes to work in the morning. And the world is a freezing cold, dreary place if you’re a Liberal.

If you live beyond Hope, your closest cabinet minister will be hundreds of kilometres away. Contrarily, a Liberal-Green agreement would have seen a balance between those in the North, the Interior and urban areas. A Liberal-Green alliance would have made for good public policy, and represent almost 60 per cent of the vote. Orr forgets Liberal MLAs in Parksville-Qualicum, Richmond North Centre, Delta South, West Vancouver Sea to Sky, Vancouver Capilano, North Vancouver Seymour, Coquitlam Burke-Mountain, Surrey-White Rock, Surrey South, Surrey Cloverdale, Langley, Langley East, Abbotsford West, Abbotsford South, Abbotsford Mission, Chilliwack, and Chilliwack-Kent who are at least geographically not beyond Hope.

Orr also seems to overlook North Island, North Coast, Stikine, Kootenay West and Nelson-Creston that went NDP and where I would image a great many residents would not take kindly to being referred to as over-comfortable latte sippers. Also that the GreenDP represents almost 60% of the vote.

I agree with the Greens: It is time for democratic reform. However if proportional representation is to be considered, then it can only be decided by referendum. So at what time while Liberals had a majority was there any effort to get this done?

In 2009, 60 per cent of the public rejected the idea. If the Green members really want this to happen, how do they think they can sell it to the province when they have no connection to the up-country parts? Interestingly, surveys by the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of B.C. indicate that it was Liberal voters who rejected the STV in 2009. In 2017 60 per cent of the public voted against the BC Liberals and for parties that did promise electoral reform. Guess we’ll see.

It’s that huge area that favours resource development, which creates the wealth that we spend here on the coast. This is where B.C.’s wealth comes from. I don’t see huge industrial trucks pulling out from the mines and going through Kerrisdale or Oak Bay on their way to market. I’ll just leave this here…

Main sources of GDP in British Columbia

Main sources of GDP in British Columbia
http://credbc.ca/role-energy-sector-bcs-economy/

Equally important is to have a democratic-reform agenda to reform the legislature.

For example, if free votes were allowed in the legislature as part of a working agreement, then the Greens and Liberals could have voted for or against each other’s legislation and policy, other than on the few confidence motions required to provide government stability.

As an MLA, I disliked the pressure to go along with the party discipline that forces votes on every issue, even when the issue was at odds with constituents’ interests, or personal beliefs. That’s how it works today, and has for a long time in B.C.

Here was a good opportunity to change the practice, and to stop the accepted practice of every vote being along party lines. If most votes were votes of conscience or supportive of constituents’ needs, the atmosphere of the legislature would become more collaborative, and that would work better for all of us. This is the perfect time to start this change.

This reform would have differentiated parties on key issues and let the voters see clearly where they stand with each party, and yet still supply stability and allow parties to present an alternative to the public in the next election; the Greens just blew that opportunity. They blew that opportunity? Why can’t that practice change now? And what did Orr do to change that? When did the Liberals bring it up while in majority? Looking forward to Orr’s support for the GreenDP to achieve it.

The Liberals and Greens could have worked together on other areas, indeed, they did in the last parliament. But a healthy disagreement from time to time presents choice, and that spawns good public policy.

Yes, some cynics and New Democrats will say I am just rationalizing so the Liberals can stay in power after 16 years. But even if I weren’t connected politically, why would I want say goodbye to a government that has offered myself and my family a good economy and jobs? Perhaps because extractive industry isn’t all BC has to offer. Perhaps because there are other values as well that enter into the equation for most people. Perhaps because most British Columbians can see that the path we’ve been on is not working for most British Columbians, and was not sustainable in any sense of the word.

The Greens could have embraced how well the province is doing and worked to implement their policies in an already thriving economy. They chose another path. Like forward instead of backward looking.

Everyone hates it when we harp on about the awful NDP 1990s (maybe because a lot of it’s bullshit), and I don’t think Weaver and his team really remember or understood those days. They are about to find out how quickly things, especially spending, can get out of control — and they have agreed to support it. Again with the dismissive and demeaning. Weaver and his team, silly young pups that they are, just don’t understand. And I’ll just leave this here…

With the NDP-Green alliance, the views of Vancouver and other urban areas will dominate. The rest of the province will be alienated. See forgotten Liberal and NDP ridings above.

Politics is about making choices. An agreement between the Liberals and the Greens would not have been such a hard pill to swallow. It was the right medicine. It might have been laced with fentanyl.

 

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