FORSETH – Can new life be breathed into an old party before next election?

W.A.C. Bennett, who brought Social Credit to power in B.C.

IS CHRISTY CLARK at the end of her reign … and have the BC Liberals gone as far as they can go as the current big tent party?

That’s a question that I, and many others, are asking now that the provincial general election of May 9 is over.  Over at least until recounts are completed, as well as absentee ballots.

Although the BC Liberals gained the largest number of seats, they are still not officially the holders of a minority government — and as we are all well aware — even if a few seats flip either way, it will be dangerously close every single day the legislature sits.  All that needs to happen is for a couple on the government side not to be in the legislature, and the opposition could call a vote of non-confidence, and back to the polls we go.

Okay … so well know all of that.  Here’s what I do wonder is going to happen though.

The Green Party of B.C. did not get the required four seats to receive official party status.  There is word out that this will be part of the demands of Andrew Weaver and the Green Party for it to support either the Liberals or NDP should neither of those two parties get a clear majority.

This of all, as a voter, I hold to the process in which the Green Party would have NO right to be accorded party status in the B.C. legislature.  Four seats is four seats — not three.  To accord the Greens with official status will only be pandering to the party in hopes of having ongoing support.

Basically, for all intents and purposes, that would be blackmail … which according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is defined as, “… extortion or coercion by threats …”

How exactly does that fit with our government style of democracy?

Even if the Greens, led by Andrew Weaver, do decide to support either the Liberals or the NDP, how long will a government last before it is defeated with a vote of non-confidence?  And what will that mean then to those who supported Green Party candidates on May 9?

If the Greens pair up with the Liberals to support them, will it lead to them being reduced to just one or two seats … maybe even none … in the next general election…

  1. due to supporter anger at propping them up?
  2. due to Green votes moving over to the NDP, or Liberals, to give one or the other a majority next time round?

A story a few days back in the Globe and Mail indicated that Weaver would also be seeking a change to how we vote next time around.

Proportional representation is one of his party’s top priorities.  This is the scary part, however, again as it relates to democracy.  Jillian Oliver, press secretary for the B.C. Greens, stated in the Globe and Mail story that, “We would implement a form of proportional representation without a referendum, that’s the difference between us and the NDP.”

Again the question of Blackmail vs. democracy comes into play.

Finally, Green Party aside.  If Liberal support continues to decline, due to voter upset, over a number of issues which I and many others have brought forward, will there now indeed be room for center/ centre right support to come together under a new, old, or existing banner?

John Crocock and the BC Action Party ran two candidates with no success … John Twigg ran as Party leader under the BC First banner and had no success … the YPP (Your Political Party) ran a number of candidates, again with no success … and of course the BC Conservatives ran 10 candidates.

None of the above was able to crack the higher than a fourth place showing.

Even Michael Henshall, running for the BC Social Credit Party, was not able to get higher than fourth.

All of these parties running on their own, cannot (at least in my opinion) have any hope of success in the near future.  And the near future is all we have because we’ll be holding a new general election in the next 12 to 18 months — if not sooner.

Theoretically, the BC Conservatives should have the best hope, however they chased away several thousand members by all of the chaos, and embarrassing issues, the party went through prior to/ after the 2013 election.  Additionally several dozen of their most experienced political people abandoned the party for the same reasons, along with a few more.

The YPP and BC First seem to have more in common with each other, however again I can’t see how they can gain enough traction (apart or together) to be a factor next time out.

That leaves the BC Social Credit Party.

Can new life be breathed back into a party that ruled for year after year prior to a re-birth of the Liberal Party?

There are a few things going for it, which of course begins with the party name, and a history of building the province, creating huge employment opportunities, a rail system, ferry system, cheap economical hydro and much more.

Of course the name of the leader who buried the party in controversy also comes to mind for those at least 40+.  Bill Vander Zalm turned the party into a laughingstock that ended it in the early 1990s.

On the positive side again, however, is the fact that those 40+ will likely know of, and / or been through all the positives the party had through its many years in government.  And … those are the same people most likely to go to the polls to cast a ballot.

Do they have time to recreate and build a party basically from scratch?  Can they attract grassroots people to their cause?  How long will it take to build people oriented policies that the majority of people will support?

And … do they have enough time, before whoever gets the nod to govern, falls in a non-confidence vote.

Time is short … and time will tell.

In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth.

Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada, the B.C. Reform Party and the B.C. Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.

About Mel Rothenburger (8247 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on FORSETH – Can new life be breathed into an old party before next election?

  1. Denis Walsh // May 17, 2017 at 6:42 AM // Reply

    Mr. Forseth, I often appreciate your opinions, however I think you are way off-base with this recent article. The self imploding BC Liberal Party has long been misrepresenting itself by using a well known moniker, which is very misleading, disrespectful, and a clear indication of Party with a foundation of questionable ethics. It is well known the BC Lib Party is the ghost of the Social Credit Party, always has been, since stealing the Liberal flag. Same people, same game, same intention to use any “tool” to deceive unsuspecting voters.
    As for your outrage of Green Party’s “extortion” to be given official status, …who says four seats is the ultimate standard, who picked this number out of the sky, and why do you feel it is your hill to die on? If you took the time to look at other members in our confederation, you would see this number is not etched in stone across the country. In PEI, the status is one seat, conservative hard-right Saskatchewan is two, Nova Scotia is two, and the bastion of the conservative right-wing fraternity, Alberta, has granted parties with only two seats “official status” a number of times. The sky is not falling.
    The recent election results apparently have you a bit unsettled and fearful of the uncertain future. I recommend you sit back, enjoy the ride. It will certainly be an entertaining show and most likely shorter than a full-feature.

    • Alan Forseth // May 17, 2017 at 1:04 PM // Reply

      Hi Dennis …thanks for your comments. BC needs some kind if restart for thise who consuder themselves centre right on the political spectrum. Those leading the BC Liberals have destroyed what rank and file members supported. What comes next though will be subject to much discussiin.

      As for tge Greens and iffucial oarty ststus. This time to discuss that is not when we are faced with a possible minority government. That is abuse of power, something one would more associate with the Liberals.

      Where has Weavers so calked better govrrnment lofty ideals gone? Obviously jettisoned at the first opportunity

  2. Lawrence Beaton // May 16, 2017 at 11:41 AM // Reply

    If the Green Party attempts to force its way into the Leg as an official party and if it attempts to proportional representation through, without following the democratic process, the party may find that British Columbians have a long memory when it comes to elections.

    • The democratic process we have allows government to change electoral systems through legislation. The precedent for changing electoral rules in BC was always to do it through legislation, in fact. Gordon Cambell decided to go with a Citizen’s Assembly and put the recommendation to referendum, but that doesn’t mean it’s now the standard and we have to stick to it forever. Why not change it, try it out for a few elections, and then have a referendum, when people are familiar with the other system, to make it a more even playing field? Alternatively, if British Columbians don’t like it, they can vote in a party which promises to change it back next time. Here’s a link to all the changes made to our electoral system over the years (without referendums), including entire system changes in the early 1950s.

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