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Collaboration — But only on BC Liberal terms

Yesterday the Premier held a press conference in the rose garden, where she stated: “This isn’t a working Legislature, and I haven’t seen any evidence that it could work.” She further stated: “There’s no effort on the part of either opposition party to work together.”

Today in the Legislature I was up in Question Period. I took the opportunity to ask the Premier why she made these statement when the majority of members in this House stand ready and willing to work together.

Below I reproduce the video and text of the exchange. You’ll see in the exchange that the BC Liberals were much more feisty than usual. The Premier was also made to withdraw a comment she made.


Video of Exchange



Question


A. Weaver: Yesterday the Premier held a press conference in the rose garden, where she stated: “This isn’t a working Legislature, and I haven’t seen any evidence that it could work.” She further stated: “There’s no effort on the part of either opposition party to work together.”

Hon. Speaker, she implied that because her government, the government under her leadership, has been unable to advance its agenda — frankly, our agenda — the only option is to subject British Columbia to another election. For weeks, the Premier has delayed a confidence vote that she knows she will lose. Instead, her government has chosen to play political games that are designed to undermine cooperation and stability.

Let me be clear. Stability does not depend on this Premier holding on to power. The Greens stand ready to work with all parties…

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members, Members.

A. Weaver: …once the government has demonstrated that it has the confidence of the House.

Mr. Speaker: Member, one minute.

Members, the Chair will hear the question.

A. Weaver: My question to the Premier is this: can the Premier clarify why she made this statement when the majority of members in this House stand ready and willing to work together?

Mr. Speaker: Premier — through the Chair.


Answer


Hon. C. Clark: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

You know, that member campaigned hard in the election on saying that he was going to be different. Instead, what he’s done is decide to just be more of the same. That member campaigned in the election saying that he was going to be an independent voice in this Legislature, and instead what he’s done is decide to sit there and take orders from one of the major parties rather than making up his own mind.

That member said that he supported campaign finance reform and then refused to even look at it when it was proposed in this Legislature. And now that member stands up and says he’s willing to work with anybody. Nobody believes you anymore.

Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental.


Supplemental Question


A. Weaver: Thank you, hon. Speaker. It’s good to see the Premier acting like the Leader of the Official Opposition in response to my question here.

We’ve been very clear. This government needs to test the confidence of this House before this government can actually claim that it is not working. You know, again, yesterday the Premier told the press in the rose garden this: “I don’t see a path forward. I don’t see any evidence that it can work.” I think, more aptly, the Premier has found that there is no evidence that the B.C. Liberal government can work, as it lacks the confidence of this House.

The Greens again have made it clear. We are ready to work with all parties once government has demonstrated….

Interjections.

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

A. Weaver: It’s remarkable. They’re getting ready to be in opposition yet again.

Once again….

Interjections.

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

A. Weaver: Thank you. We’ve got a feisty bunch on the other side.

Mr. Speaker: The question, Member.

A. Weaver: Again — once the government has demonstrated that it has the confidence of the House.

You know, it’s very clear to us. It’s very clear to the legislative press gallery. It’s very clear to the people in British Columbia that this Premier is trying to actually have an election because she knows she doesn’t have the confidence of the House.

Again, my question….

Interjections.

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

A. Weaver: Again….

Mr. Speaker: And the question, Member?

A. Weaver: Again, I encourage the members opposite to read the columns in the paper today by the….

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members. Members.

Member, take….

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: The Chair will hear the question.

Members.

A. Weaver: As I’ve said earlier…

Mr. Speaker: And could you move to the question?

A. Weaver: …it’s time for this lot to be put in a time-out. They’re acting like belligerent children who are kicking and screaming as they’re going into that time-out.

Again….

Mr. Speaker: Member, the Chair will hear a question.

A. Weaver: Thank you. My question, through you to the Premier: can the Premier please clarify why she made this statement again when the majority of members are here in the House ready and willing to work together?


Answer


Hon. C. Clark: That member, for the last seven days, or the days that we’ve sat, has rejected two pieces of legislation that during the election, he campaigned very hard and said that he supported, including campaign finance reform. He has stood in this House. We’ve seen the spectacle of the Opposition House Leader whispering orders to him and coming down and telling him how to vote.

We have watched as this member has steadfastly refused to work with members in this House on issues with which he said he profoundly agrees. And now he is saying: “Trust me. I do want to work with everybody — just not now.” And now he is saying….

Interjection.

Mr. Speaker: Member. Member.

Hon. C. Clark: After saying to his constituents: “I do want to work with everybody. I do want the Legislature to be different. I don’t want to be part of this arena where good ideas are rejected just for political reasons….” He wasn’t telling the truth about that then, and he isn’t telling the truth about what he is saying today.

Mr. Speaker: Premier.

A. Weaver: Can I ask that you…?

Some Voices: Withdraw.

Mr. Speaker: Premier, can you withdraw?

Interjection.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you. The Chair heard the withdrawal.

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