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EDITORIAL – Cheery outlook for minority government will soon fade

(Image: Tourism Victoria)

An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WE OFFICIALLY have a minority government in British Columbia for the first time since Social Credit came to power in 1952. Now what?

The final vote count Wednesday confirmed the Liberals have 43 seats, one short of a majority. For them to stay in office, they need the support of the Greens, officially or unofficially.

A lot of people seem excited about this. They somehow think a minority government will result in better legislation and leadership. They tend to think it will prove the benefits of proportional representation, and that we’ll all suddenly want to make it official.

Not going to happen.

Both the Liberals and the NDP have been trying to make Green leader Andrew Weaver their new best friend since the May 9 election. Weaver has three options: form a coalition with the Liberals, form a coalition with the NDP, or neither of the above.

If he’s smart, he’ll pick number three, and Weaver is a smart man. Teaming up with Christy Clark and the Liberals is unthinkable to much of the Greens’ base of support. The NDP would be only a slightly better option, and it’s being said that Weaver isn’t especially fond of John Horgan. On the other hand, Horgan seems optimistic it can be done.

Fringe parties that form coalitions to prop up minority governments don’t usually do well when another general election follows soon after.

Interesting, though, that Weaver and his party take the position that proportional representation should be put in place without benefit of a referendum. If that’s a condition of the Greens’ support for either party, Clark and Horgan should both throw him out of their offices.

But let’s say he does the smart thing and stays out of any coalition. In a statement late Wednesday afternoon he said: “I look forward to working with both other parties so that we can finally get big money out of politics, move towards electoral reform and implement good public policy on a wide range of issues that puts people first.”

If the Liberals are left trying to hold on to power day by day — and that’s assuming they can get a budget passed — it won’t take long for the government to fall, which might lead to an NDP minority government, or even a new election.

And the rose-colored glasses will soon come off.

mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (4927 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca 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 ArmchairMayor.ca 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.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Cheery outlook for minority government will soon fade

  1. David Goar // May 25, 2017 at 7:52 AM // Reply

    I believe we would be ill advised to approach our new provincial political situation with preconceptions or biases based upon allegiances to old paradigms. Let’s give it a chance.

    There is much to commend a more collaborative approach to governance. Moreover, the emergence of the Green Party as a third, viable alternative on the political landscape offers the prospect of raising our parliament and political environment above the limiting confines of a polarized two party state.

    Without adoption of a “rose coloured glasses” perspective, I believe there is every reason to view the current configuration of government as a required step forward toward government that more closely reflects and respects the will of the people.

  2. Well, there are plenty of examples of minority governments that do work — look at Europe where in some countries the “winning party” may get no more that 30% of the vote.
    If the Greens want proportional representation, then their message is that they believe minority govt is the way to go and building majorities through coalitions is out. There is in fact a form of governance other than the “my way, or the highway” approach. It’s just that we’re not used to it.

  3. Er, I hate to say this Mel, yet i believe the use of the term ‘rose coloured glasses’ is used in reference to distortion of things and not -so much (that I know of)- in terms of seeing things in either happy or a positive light, as you have somewhat alluded to here: that the fuzzy warmness will soon wear off. Perhaps the situation be best described as,

    “And soon the furry, little, cutie-pootie, toy bear will not be shared,
    but yet will be torn to shreds by all that pulling and selfish desire(s)
    -so don’t be fooled by what is distorted through rose coloured glasses.”

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