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Today in the legislature I was up in question period and I wanted to take the opportunity to question the Premier as to whether or not she was going to fulfill her constitutional obligations as First Minister.

Last week, the Premier stated that she doesn’t intend to give the Lieutenant-Governor any advice when she loses the confidence vote scheduled for Thursday. But as I note in the framing of my supposed question today, she has a constitutional obligation to do so should she lose such a motion. The Premier can do one of two things: 1) resign; 2) provide advice to the Lieutenant Governor. The advice to the Lieutenant Governor would be viewed as her seeking another election. Of course, the Lieutenant Governor does not have to listen to such advice.

The Premier reiterated today in a press conference at the BC Legislature that she was not going to be providing advice but would be willing to answer the Lieutenant Governor’s questions. In my view the Premier’s behaviour is disrespectful of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

It’s pretty clear that the Premier is trying to trigger a summer election and to set the stage to blame the Lieutenant Governor, rather than accepting responsibility, if such an election is called. As I have reiterated many times before, the games the BC Liberals continue to play are never ending.

What was particularly disturbing about Question Period today was that I was hoping to question the Premier as to whether or not she was going to fulfill her constitutional obligation. Shortly after I rose, the Minister of Finance started calling on the Speaker to rule my question as being out of order.

As you’ll see below, my question was ruled out of order before I even asked it! You literally can’t make this stuff up.

The BC Liberals need to be put in a time out. They are clearly more interested in political calculation and the quest for power than they are in putting the interests of people front and centre. The BC NDP and the BC Greens have an accord that will ensure stability of the house and confidence in an NDP minority government.


Video of Exchange



Text of Exchange


A. Weaver: Last week, the Premier stated that she doesn’t intend to give the Lieutenant-Governor any advice when she loses the confidence vote scheduled for Thursday. Yet scholars have been very clear. The Premier has a constitutional duty to provide advice on how to proceed to the Lieutenant-Governor. It’s a long-standing tradition that the Lieutenant-Governor acts on the basis of advice from the first minister. For the Premier to refuse this advice is an abdication of her constitutional responsibility.

My question to the Premier is this.

Mr. Speaker: Member, the question is out of order. It has nothing to do with her ministerial responsibilities.

Next question.

A. Weaver: The question is as follows, then. The Premier has refused to have a vote in the House on confidence. We’ve delayed after delayed after delayed. Will the Premier make public her recommendation to the Lieutenant-Governor that will be put forward shortly?

Mr. Speaker: Again, that question is out of order. It has nothing do to do with her ministerial responsibility.

8 Comments

  1. David Handysides-
    June 30, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    I noticed this too when it was live, but had a hard time hearing who was calling for a point-of-order.

    Interesting posturing indeed.

    Happy things turned out as they did in the end.

    As an aside, did you ever play Rugby against Speaker Thompson, known as “The Ox”?

  2. Rebecca Melquist-
    June 29, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    That this woman is still throwing out road blocks to stop the inevitable.. she needs to be banned from politics anywhere in Canada..

  3. Trevor-
    June 29, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    So Speaker Thompson’s reputation as a speaker is being sullied. I see this as yet another deliberate move in the premier’s bag of tricks playing games of distraction. Poor steve.

    • June 29, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Speaker Thompson is an incredibly honurable person. He is a new speaker and I have nothing but the utmost respect for him.

  4. Phil Le Good-
    June 29, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Bruce, the sham and flim flam is not recent, for most of us having to observe 16 years of this government painfully, the sham has been endless. I would love to have cabinet documents not sealed and unavailable to the public so we can grasp the level of deceit and possibly corruption.

  5. George Hill-
    June 28, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Are you only allowed to ask questions to a member if it fits within “ministerial responsibility”? Where is “ministerial responsibility” defined? Was the speaker out of order for refusing your question?

    • June 28, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      As First Minister, the Premier is responsible for providing advice to the LG.

      To quote from the BC government’s website: “The Lieutenant Governor usually acts on the advice of the Premier, although there are occasions when the Lieutenant Governor may refuse to act on this advice.”

      I think most independent observers would agree that it is inappropriate to rule a question is out of order if you haven’t actually posed a question.

  6. Bruce Gunn-
    June 28, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    It is hard to reconcile the Speaker’s response with his Constitutional responsibilities…clearly in the Premier’s pocket! What a sham Christy is making of our democratic institutions.