The Globe's Gary Mason is on the money this time. If it winds up that Christy Clark, either now or in the future, needs the Green Party to prop up her government, Andrew Weaver should drive a hard bargain - end the corruption.
Ms. Clark led arguably the most arrogant and entitled government in the country. Cronyism has thrived under hers and previous Liberal administrations. The corrosive effect it has had on B.C. politics can’t be understated and it needs to be brought to an end.
Mr. Weaver has said that banning union and corporate donations is at the top of his list of measures he would request in exchange for his backing. This is good. Big money has to be taken out of politics in British Columbia. Right now, corporations (and to a much lesser extent, unions) and the province’s wealthiest citizens, through their donations, are getting an outsized say in the outcome of elections.
The premier of a province should not be giving special access to citizens who fork over enough money. The fact this happens now is almost incomprehensible and anathema to what we know a functioning democracy should be. There has to be strict and reasonable limits on the amount any individual can donate to a political party; one that nullifies the advantage the rich currently have.
But that is only the beginning of what needs to take place in B.C. The Greens have to demand foreign donations be banned as well. The idea that industrialists from the likes of Malaysia and Singapore seeking approval for resource projects in B.C. can pour tens of thousands of dollars into the coffers of the governing party is frankly abhorrent. Why should foreign entities be having any say in the outcome of an election in B.C.?
Imagine: You have people helping the Liberals win an election, and then after victory is achieved, knocking on the doors of Liberal cabinet ministers asking for assistance on behalf of clients paying them tens of thousands of dollars for access they boast about having.
Earlier this year, a Globe and Mail investigation shed some light on the murky world of campaign donations in B.C., and revealed how lobbyists were not only donating tens of thousands of dollars to the very governing party they are lobbying, but also donating on behalf of unnamed clients, something that is illegal. The RCMP is now investigating. The Liberals, meantime, have returned more than $200,000 they since “discovered” was donated illegally.
The lobbyist industry in B.C. is a cesspool that has deep, deep roots in the Liberal party. Influence buying is not done in the backrooms in B.C., it is done in the open.
Christy Clark may be revered by some prominent conservatives in Liberal clothing but she's hopelessly corrupt. Even The New York Times called out the B.C. Liberal government for its dodgy ways - twice.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Christy is what passes for genuine Liberal today.
If the final outcome of the 2017 election in B.C. is a minority government, the three-MLA Green party could have a capacious impact on the Clark government. But it has to insist on a complete cleanup of a political ecosystem that wouldn’t be allowed to exist in Uzbekistan, let alone Canada.
Maybe what Weaver must do, if he gets the chance, is purge the "Liberal" out of Christy Clark's government.