In what can only be described as a shocking lack of principles, the BC Liberals voted against sending Bill 3 – Election Amendment Act, 2017 to committee stage after it had passed second reading.
I spent most of this week listening to BC Liberal speaker after speaker proclaim how they liked most aspects of the bill but that they had issues with a number of sections. Speaker after speaker talked about potential amendments to the Bill that might help make it better. In fact Rich Coleman, the Leader of the Official Opposition cynically stated:
“R. Coleman: Well, we will, actually. It’s interesting you say that. I can tell you what’s not going to happen. There will be an amendment in committee stage, but I can tell you what’s not going to happen when the division call comes. You’re not voting for the amendment. You’re not voting for the amendment because you want the dough. You’re gonna take the dough. That’s what you want.”
After the bill passed second reading, the Liberals then proceeded to vote against sending it to committee thereby saying they just wanted to kill it rather than amend it. I have never seen such a vote in the 4 1/2 years since I got elected.
Needless to say, the BC Liberals have abdicated their responsibility to offer practical solutions to improving the bill. As such, any future amendments to this bill that they might propose will be treated as nothing more than a cynical political ploy.
Below is the media statement my office issued this morning.
Weaver statement on B.C. Liberals voting against banning big money
For immediate release
October 5, 2017
VICTORIA, B.C. – Andrew Weaver issued the following statement in response to the B.C. Liberal caucus voting against a bill that would ban big money. The Liberals voted against sending the bill to committee stage after it had already passed second reading. Votes on particular aspects of the bill that could be resolved by amendments are done at the committee stage of the bill.
“I am extremely disappointed that the entire Liberal caucus voted against this bill that would finally exorcise the corrosive influence of big money from our political system,” Weaver said.
“With this vote, the Liberals have indicated that they are against the core principle that we need to shift political influence away from special interests towards people. For 16 years the BC Liberals were content to personally profit from maintaining the weakest campaign finance laws in the country. Now with an opportunity to make B.C. a leader in electoral finance and put the public interest first, they choose to side with a system that gives special interests too much influence.
“The Liberals’ actions last night demonstrate precisely what is broken in B.C. politics. Instead of debating the individual aspects of the bill based on substance, the Liberals have chosen yet again to play political games. By voting to not send this bill to committee, the Liberals are saying that they are not willing to consider improving this bill. The broken two-party system in this province has led to divisive, obstructionist politics where the pressing issues facing British Columbians are devolved into sloganeering and reactionary partisan grandstanding.
“The people of British Columbia deserve better from their elected officials. Now, with three parties in the legislature and a minority government, we have an opportunity to deliver a different kind of politics – one that focuses on evidence, principles and substantive debate. It is clear that the official opposition is intent on ensuring that this doesn’t happen.
“They are desperately clinging onto an outdated sort of politics that places party and power above principles and policy. B.C. is at a crossroads – we can go down the path of the United States where big money and an entrenched two-party system has led to chaos and the degradation of democratic norms, or we can join the 33 out of 34 OECD countries in removing the undue influence of big money from our political system. I hope that as this bill moves through committee, all 87 MLAs sincerely consider the type of future we want for our province and make their decisions based on their conscience in this vital matter.”
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
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