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Calling out cynicism embodied in BC Liberal attempts to trigger new election

Today in the Legislature I took the opportunity to question the Premier about the letter that the Minister of Finance sent to the Speaker today. The BC Liberals were very feisty in their heckling during my questioning.

As is evident from the exchange below, it is pretty clear to me that the Premier’s commitment to working across party lines is predicated on her government being in power. The BC Greens and the BC NDP signed a “supply and confidence agreement” on May 29th. Seven weeks later the BC Liberals continue to delay the inevitable confidence motion.

Below I reproduce the text and video of the exchange today.


Video of Exchange


Question


A. Weaver: The NDP and the B.C. Greens have already demonstrated their willingness to work across party lines. The Premier has stated….

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members. Members. The Chair will hear the question.

A. Weaver: It’s good to see the government acting like an opposition party right now.

The Premier has stated she’s willing to do the same. Last week, the Liberals even adopted 30 B.C. Green and B.C. NDP policies, most of which we now have all-party agreement on. If the B.C. Liberals are being honest with British Columbians when they say they want to avoid an election and make this Legislature work, then the issues that the Minister of Finance raised today in his letter to you, hon. Speaker, will be the exception, not the norm, since we should all be able to cooperate to advance good public policy in the best interests of British Columbia. So….

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members. Members.

A. Weaver: My question is to the Premier: will she reiterate to this House and to British Columbians her party’s commitment to work constructively across party lines to ensure stability regardless….

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members. Members. The Chair will hear the question.

A. Weaver: Again, will she reiterate for this House and to British Columbians her party’s commitment to work constructively across party lines to ensure stability regardless of where she and her party sit in this chamber?


Answer


Hon. C. Clark: Thanks to the member for the question. Yesterday, our government introduced legislation which all three parties campaigned on supporting — on campaign finance reform. And the members of this House….

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members. Members. The Chair heard the question. The Chair will also hear the answer.

Hon. C. Clark: In an effort to put forward legislation, again, that demonstrated that this House could work and work across party lines — campaign finance legislation — which all parties and British Columbians agree it’s time for…. Members of this House voted against it, including that member, before he’d ever even seen it.

In addition to that, yesterday in this House, this government introduced another piece of legislation which all parties, I understood, agreed on — a one-page piece of legislation that would have changed something like two words. Legislation that would have given him official party status. That member also voted against it. So he should be careful about talking about working across party lines. He doesn’t want to be a party. I guess we’ll only be able to work with one of them in this House.


Supplementary Question


A. Weaver: Well, the B.C. Liberals continue to act like that belligerent child going into a hissy fit, kicking and screaming as they’re put in a time-out that they don’t want to go into.

I didn’t hear the B.C. Liberals campaigning on the election campaign to give the B.C. Green party, party status. I certainly did not hear them campaigning to ban big money on the election campaign. This is revisionist history.

You know, if the B.C. Liberals are truly sincere about their desire to collaborate across party lines and work to implement legislation on the priorities outlined in their throne speech, the question raised in the Minister of Finance’s letters would be of limited relevance. After all, with all the policy agreements that we have in the last few days, there shouldn’t be many tied votes. The Liberals support both of our platforms.

Yet, the government….

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members.

A. Weaver: This is remarkable. They truly are getting ready to sit in opposition. It’s remarkable.

Yet the government appears to unnecessarily be delaying the confidence vote, creating uncertainty and using every opportunity to raise the spectre of a possible election, which only the governing party seems to want.

Did you know that the idea of another election has a lower approval rating than Donald Trump?

My question is this. Assuming you are sincere, assuming….

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members. We’ll hear the question.

A. Weaver: Assuming that the government is sincere about their intention to work constructively across party lines, why are they so focused on the games that they are playing to create uncertainty in British Columbia today?


Answer


Hon. C. Clark: So, what I understand from the member from Oak Bay is he thinks that the way to demonstrate that we are working across party lines is for him to vote against the things he campaigned on, because it didn’t come from his preferred party in the Legislature.

He campaigned on campaign finance reform. And then he voted against it. He campaigned in favour of his party and asked very clearly for his party to have third party status. And then he voted against it — in both cases, without even wanting to see the bill before it was introduced.

That is not demonstrating that you can work across party lines. That’s shown that the member opposite has put himself in an ideological box he can’t find his way out of. He isn’t willing to work across party lines.

If he does change his mind about that, though, I would be delighted, if he’d be willing to give leave for it, to offer those two bills to the House again so we can conduct the vote again and demonstrate that we can all work across party lines on issues where we all agree…

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members.

Hon. C. Clark: …because there’s no reason that the leader of the Greens should be working so hard to defeat legislation that he campaigned on.

12 Comments

  1. Trevor-
    June 28, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    9 weeks since elxn. Not since May 29. But the point is well taken.
    There’s no particular reason why the BC Greens negotiations with either party could have occurred simultaneously through a throne speech on May 25th and debate following that.

    Delay and distraction indeed.

  2. AM Hunter-
    June 28, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Bruce Larratt, you are completely ignoring the timing of Clark’s bills! That fact makes it clear that the NDP and Greens could NOT have supported her, since her introduction of the bills was only a fake attempt to pretend that she’s actually changed her mind on those issues! It is very obvious that she’s a hypocrite. Don’t get sucked in to her corruption! I simply cannot agree with your statement: “When there is no clear winner, stability would suggest that we stay with the status quo.” Clark has done so much harm to BC – I support the NDP/Green movement to rid us of the BC Liberal government!

  3. Case M-
    June 28, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    I’m really glad and encouraged to see you stick to your guns and focus on getting those liberals the “time-out” they are so overdue for, instead of playing this silly game.

    I have to wonder how those who voted liberal because they supported the liberal platform must now be feeling, seeing how the liberals did a complete about face on so many issues.

  4. Beth Carruthers-
    June 28, 2017 at 10:35 am

    The PM never directly answered the question – as is her wont, in fine Harperesque form. That should be no surprise, since the BC Libs (aka Social Credit) and Harper hail from the same far right roots in Alberta.
    Spin is the name of the game in the media, and Clark understands appearance and memes over substance. The thing is to not only practice clear logic and ethics in response, but also have inside knowledge of how her system works, so as to undermine its very foundation.

  5. Bruce Larratt-
    June 28, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Sorry, but I agree with the Premier in this exchange. I was in an ideological box that I only found my way out of on Tuesday. I had studied all of Andrew Weaver’s recent posts and the full text of the supply and confidence agreement and was convinced that the agreement did not bind the Greens to voting against the Throne speech regardless of it’s merit. I believed the campaign rhetoric of working with whoever formed government, sober second thought and not being the party that always says no. It appears that despite the results of the election, the Green MLAs believe that there must be a change in government. When there is no clear winner, stability would suggest that we stay with the status quo. The Green/NDP agreement is a powerful tool to hold the Liberals accountable, to shape their policy and achieve all party agreement. The moment the government falls, that power is lost.

  6. Charlene Simon-
    June 27, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    Christy Clark has taken her cue from Melania Trump, stealing her ideas for the Throne Speech from the NDP and Greens!

  7. Eleanor Evans-
    June 27, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Christy Clark is an intelligent, capable woman. It is time she found another career (maybe run federally?) instead of talking out of both sides of her mouth and trying to confuse her electors. Time for a change.

  8. chris Kowalchuk-
    June 27, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Christy Clark’s smarmy hypocrisy makes my skin crawl, just sayin.

    Good Luck going forward.

  9. George W Hill-
    June 27, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks for making these videos Andrew – keep them coming!

  10. Loni Eliot-
    June 27, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Thank you, Andrew, for continuing to show to BCrs that Christy Clark and the Liberals are so desperate and so in fear of losing power that they endorse yours and the NDPs platforms. She has shown that the Liberals are not sincere, that this is Christy’s Hail Mary plan and that if she keeps going on about the opposition creating a call for an election that enough of her base will begin to believe it simply because she said it was so. Thank you for sticking with your agreement with the NDP and I look forward to the Lieutenant Governor asking for the NDP with your Green Party support, being able and willing to form the next government. And THEN, I’m looking forward to seeing Clark in the Opposition and hear her vote against these same intitiatives that she flipped on. And of course, a call for a Liberal party leadership review.

  11. D. M. Johnston-
    June 27, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    I heard one of NW’s commentators libel you today on radio and it was disgusting.

    The power of the BC Liberal Party in this province must be broken or the province will be broken.

    I am almost 62 years of age and I have never been so bloody mad at a government denying real democracy.

    She has sat there too long for what good she has done.

    It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place,

    which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

    Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.

    Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

    Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

    Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

    Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

    Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

    Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.

    I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.

    Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

    In the name of God, go!

    • June 27, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      For those wondering about the “It is high time for me ..” It is Oliver Cromwell’s famous Dissolution of the Long Parliament speech he gave to the House of Commons on April 20, 1653.