An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE GOVERNMENT will return to business in a couple of weeks and it’s not a day too soon as far as the NDP and Greens are concerned.
“By the time Christy Clark finally gets to work on June 22, it will be more than six weeks since British Columbians voted overwhelmingly to replace her,” groused NDP leader John Horgan, chomping at the bit to send the Liberals packing.
“Overwhelming” is a word only Horgan would have the brass to use to describe the election result, which left the Liberals just one seat short of a majority, but still a couple more than the New Democrats.
There’s still much to be decided before that happens, including the matter of who will be named as speaker, if anyone. That alone could cut things short as the Liberals “seek to determine” if they “enjoy the confidence of the house,” as Government House Leader Mike de Jong puts it.
“Enjoy”? Politicians have such a way with words.
Anyway, assuming that hurdle is crossed, there would be a Speech from the Throne, a debate and a seemingly inevitable defeat of the government in a confidence vote, depending on who gives up a member to be speaker. Then, the NDP and Greens would ask to form a new government.
Until then, there’s the intriguing question of what Clark will do about her cabinet. The pundits say she’ll announce a new one before the 22nd, which makes it more or less imminent.
Given the timetable, it seems a waste of time, though there are vacancies. Four Liberal cabinet ministers were defeated on May 9, and two more — including Health Minister Terry Lake — decided not to run again.
Presumably, Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone will remain in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure portfolio, as it would be pointless to move him out.
If the Liberals had a majority, one would think Peter Milobar — who, as of yesterday is the sworn-in MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson — would be in line to fill one of the six empty cabinet chairs.
But with Clark and the Liberals living on borrowed time, politically speaking, what would be the point? There would be all that moving of furniture and such as new ministers take over their new offices, and spend the few days they have trying to figure out their jobs.
It might be a slight exaggeration to call ministers’ offices palatial, but let’s just say they’re pretty nice. Tall ceillings, lots of space, oak trim and paneling everywhere, and fancy-schmancy washrooms.
The only thing that makes sense is for Clark to re-appoint current cabinet ministers to the same jobs they have now, let the ministries that don’t have ministers limp along without them for a little longer, and save some moving expenses and ministerial paycheques.