Today in the BC Legislature the BC Liberals introduced two bills at First Reading. The first of these bills (Legislative Assembly Management Committee Amendment Act, 2017) granted official party status to the BC Green Party. The second of these bills (Election Amendment Act, 2017) was aimed at banning big money and other electoral finance changes at both the provincial and municipal level in British Columbia.
At first glance it might seem very odd that Adam Olsen, Sonia Furstenau and I voted against these bills at first reading (which means they won’t be printed and debated). But we did so as a matter of principle.
As I noted earlier, the legislature could and should have been recalled in early June (as the premier stated she would) in order for the BC Liberals to test the confidence in the house. Instead, through political calculation the BC Liberals chose the tactic of delay and distraction, all the while sowing the seeds of fear within the electorate.
After some discussion, we believed that it would be inappropriate for us to support the debating of government bills, even if it meant we wouldn’t be getting party status right away, until such time as confidence had been tested. We have already agreed to support a BC NDP minority government through a “supply and confidence agreement“.
Later today, Carole James will be introducing an amendment to the throne speech that states that the legislature does not have confidence in a BC Liberal government. She will be asking for unanimous consent for a vote on this amendment to occur right away. But it is likely that the BC Liberals will not agree and so the confidence vote will be delayed until Thursday afternoon.
While we wait, we’ll have to listen to BC Liberal after BC Liberal speak in support of the throne speech. Neither the NDP nor the BC Green MLAs (other than Carole James, John Horgan and I) will be speaking to it.