Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Queen of Political Cash Comes Up a Dollar Short

British Columbia's far from liberal premier, Christy Clark, appears to have come up short, finally, ending her party's majority rule over the province going back to 2001.

Give Christy her due. She made the most of her advantage while it lasted, extracting the fullest benefit for her party and herself usually at the expense of the province and our people. She ruled largely by fiat. Being a legislator was a part-time vocation at best. The legislature rarely sat except to push through the latest budget.

Christy doesn't deserve all of the credit for her Liberals' lengthy run. That has to be shared with the woefully mediocre and wholly uninspiring opposition New Democrats from Carole James to Adrian Dix to Jim Horgan.

Now it's all down to one riding, Courtenay-Comox. The NDP won it by a narrow, 9-vote margin. Then it was on to the absentee ballot count that many believed would hand the riding to the Liberals. As of last night, however, the NDP lead had grown to over 100 votes.  That's now grown to a 148 NDP margin with a few hours counting left to go.

This horse race hands the balance of power to the Green Party that has been much abused by the NDP in this and past elections.  Suffice to say the Dippers have done nothing to endear themselves to or earn the trust of the Greens.

I would prefer my Greens reject both parties until they extract ironclad concessions on a couple of major issues including electoral reform, Kinder Morgan and the Site C dam.  Of course the counting isn't finished yet and there's a longshot chance the Liberal fortunes could recover in Courtenay-Comox.


I just had a look at what might have been the outcome had proportional rep been in place.  The Liberals instead of 43 would have garnered around 36 seats. The NDP would have wound up with about 35 seats instead of 41. The Greens would have taken 14 seats instead of 3. Clearly then proportional representation represents nearly as great a threat to the NDP as it does to the Liberals because it gives seats to the grossly under-represented Green voters. Small wonder the Dippers went after the Green vote so aggressively in this campaign. All the more reason for the Greens to use their balance of power strategically to squeeze the parties for electoral reform.


Toby said...

I'd like the Greens to vote with their conscience on each and every issue. Let's forget the coalition. Having said that, my worry is that the Liberals will find a way to hang on to power and never manage to put the Legislature in session thus ruling as they have. Or something to that effect.

The last time I heard Christy speak she was saying something about the people have spoken and they want . . . . [insert the same old sales pitch].

Dana said...

Neither the NDP or the Libs need to do anything. The corporate media will handle it for them just as they always have. One of the best at it used to be Rafe Mair. He did a superb job promoting the Campbell Liberal cum Socred party after having played a strong role in undermining the Wilson Liberal cum liberal party. Palmer will jump in, as will Smythe, Baldrick ...oops sorry...Baldrey...he's probably still trying to figure out what all this means but he'll get there and join in. They're all just smart enough to understand that they're not smart enough to cover the nuances and complexities of a minority situation like this - so they'll get busy undermining it.

I half expect Spector to be revealed as working for all sides and failing at everything thus leaving the situation even more fucked up than it already is. As dear old Norman so often does.

BC will always find a way to become a little more fucked up than before.

The Mound of Sound said...

Aren't you a cheerful soul, Dana? In my world of misery and strife I know I can always count on you. Cheers. BTW is your group going to play the Shady Rest again?

Dana said...

I actually am a cheerful soul for the most part. I'm just not fond of pretty eyeglasses.

It wasn't me playing there. I was attending while some local old geezers played some pretty decent blues.

The move looks like its finally going to happen. You can count on me from closer. :-)

Purple library guy said...

Lot of sanctimonious hypocrisy there. Leave it to an ex-Liberal to talk as if the NDP owed the Greens their vote. Habit from the good old days of backing the Natural Governing Party where allegiance could just be expected as one's due, I suppose.
There was a political campaign, and the parties all tried to gain advantage in it. It was noticeable throughout the campaign that Mr. Weaver tended to say far worse things about the NDP than he did about the Libs, even though (or rather, because) the NDP's platform was far, far closer to the Green platform than the Libs' and the Liberal record is so mindbogglingly putrid. At the same time, Liberal dominated media gave the Greens lots of airtime for a party as minor as they were. Just co-incidence, I'm sure, but still--somehow that's OK but it's dirty pool for the NDP to campaign for the NDP? Give me a break.

As to what the Greens should do--by all means, hold out for the best policy deal available. You don't need to make excuses like "The NDP were sooo mean to us, they campaigned against us like we were a different party in an election, waah!" The Green party certainly doesn't owe the NDP its support any more than the NDP somehow owed it to the Greens to not campaign against them. Of course if Weaver decides to support the Libs despite them not offering a policy deal as good as the NDP's actual platform, let alone whatever they'd offer in a deal, again, the excuse that "Waah, the NDP were mean to us" is not going to impress as a reason for abandoning Green principles.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yeah, well, pound salt, PLG. NDP platforms and principles? You're not really going to push that after what we saw from Layton and Mulcair or Glenn Clark or Carole James, are you? The NDP doesn't "owe" the Greens their support. That's a figment of your imagination. Thanks for playing.

Anonymous said...

PLG is just another blind partisan, Mound. More knowledgeable and articulate than most but still...

Purple library guy said...

Anon: By which you mean, I don't agree with you. I am in fact a partisan, but not a partisan of what/who your comment suggest you think.

Mound: I only mentioned platforms, actually. When it comes to principles, we have no idea whether the Greens will turn out to have any; nationally and provincially, they've repeatedly shown signs of selling out before anyone was even buying, so if they succeed enough to be worth the purchase it's hard to say how fast they'd lose their substance. The NDP have tended to get more and more watered down over time, but there have always been countervailing forces as well; they haven't yet gone Full Blair and there are some indications that they are moving to the left again. They're not a great party, but considering what has tended to happen to social democratic parties worldwide, they have actually hung on to a surprising amount of substance. There is no track record to indicate whether the Greens will have that much staying power.

But in this election, I will tell you for certain: If the polling of the NDP and Greens had been reversed, I would have voted Green with no hesitation and considered the NDP basically a narcissistic spoiler party which was only going to split the vote. But their polling was NOT reversed. It was frankly a ridiculous stroke of luck that the strong Green vote didn't result in another Liberal majority. I'll take it, this is a great result (depending on just what Weaver does), but it's like drawing to an inside straight or betting a specific number at roulette--it will work every now and then, but it's still a stupid play.

crf said...

If some form of proportional representation had been used, it's possible that the vote ratios would change. For example, there may be less strategic voting than under fptp

crf said...

I'm very interested in what the greens will want to do if they were to enter into an agreement with the NDP. I think they would be wise to get only a few key issues addressed in return for support of the government for at least two years.

I'd be very concerned if the Greens tried to kill site C and the KM pipeline. Study them and perhaps slow them, but not kill. The problem with killing those projects is that this will provide an impetus to destroy the fragile government at the earliest opportunity (any by-election), then, presto, the Liberals gain power and those projects are back on. (Similar to what happened in the U.S. to the Dakota access pipeline Keystone XL: they definitely aren't dead even though Obama supposedly killed them.) Also, legally, killing a pipeline by provincial legislative fiat will force the federal government's hand to enforce to the law. It is just a fact that pipelines are under federal jurisdiction. Any supposed "killing" would be a pyrrhic victory.

My preference would be for the Greens to agree to support a throne speech and budget. Policy wise, they might want an electoral reform package either passed in the legislature without referendum, or taking into account a referendum with a suitable bar of support (55% perhaps?). Also could put teeth into the B.C. utilities commission (to properly assess site C). Success on those two issues alone would ensure that Green policy would influence legislation over the long term, even if they lose power.

The Mound of Sound said...

My sense is that Weaver is close to your position, Chris. Electoral reform along with campaign finance reform, outlawing corporate and union funding, would be a good start.

I agree that the vote ratios would probably change. I know Greens who held their noses and voted NDP as the strategic option who would back their party given a pro-rep election.