We are in the midst of a Provincial election. It was called by Premier John Horgan who has been Premier since May 2017. The election was scheduled for October 2021, but Horgan decided to do it prematurely, now. There are stories in this but I will sidetrack them all but one. I will focus on the Premier’s professed prime reason for subjecting us to an election in the midst of the Pandemic: “ We need a majority government if we are to wrestle the Pandemic to the ground and to clean up the mess left behind”. So he said with the weight a Premier’s words carry.
The Premier explained that having a majority of “pre-committed” MLAs eliminates acrimony and that is needed to finish killing the pandemic dragon and facing the emerging New Normal. The truth is that the presence of a “controlled majority” suppresses the airing of the “other sides of the story” thereby rendering the discourse that would cause the evolution of optimum solutions into a process akin to a cat and mouse interaction.
I concur with the proposition that we need a “majority” government, now as we do at all times really, albeit the tougher the times are the greater the need is. Having said that I will remark that elections are not a sureway to a majority. It was an “elected” minority government Horgan seeks now to replace because he deemed it inadequate to govern us at this juncture in our history.
But, what would happen if the election results in another “minority” government? How are we to cope with the consequences from “minority”government, those Horgan professes to save us from by taxing our strained resources with this election? Certain is that the election would fan the flamed of animosity and spoil the rare inter-party pre-election harmony that was.
Fear not ... There is an excellent solution to the problem of dispersing the uncertainty and secure the legislature majority Horgan determined we need at this juncture. This solution will take us right into a “totality”, it being the ultimate form of majority. Moreover, it is simple as most good ideas are and easy to implement. Here it is:
Each of the three party leaders store their epaulets for the next four years so as to serve as “ordinary” MLAs. They announce this now, so that the other candidates and the electorate know. After the new Legislature convene to elect a Speaker, it makes its first order of business to elect the Premier, as done with the Speaker, by secret ballot.
To make this more meaningful, MLAs wishing to serve as Speaker or Premier will have to submit a “Self Nomination Paper” of one or two pages in length, containing their curriculum vitae and a brief outline of reasons they should be elected to the post. The candidacy papers would be bundled in a binder distributed to MLAs and made available to the public at least one week before the vote. All MLAs, including Fusteneau, Horgan and Willkinson, (each if elected) are eligible to seek the premiers post, not unlike every other MLA. However, whoever becomes Premier would not have the power to compel any MLA “to toe a line” – the Premier would have to make sense.
Such an election will inevitably result in a “full majority”. I would expect Horgan to jump at this opportunity to prove his sincerity and drain away the flood of allegations of “opportunism” he now swims in. Fusteneau and Wilkinson should rush in, too. They do not have to wait each other out, they can rush into it, on condition of consensus always, thereby challenging any who may hesitate. This is a splendid opportunity for them to demonstrate dedication to the common good.
By taking this pandemic generated opportunity the three BC Party Leaders may create a New Normal, let’s us call call it “PanDemocracy”. It amounts to them leading the society into a remarkable “great leap forward” and position themselves to share a much envied legacy.
We need them all in this together to serve society and we abhor the prospect of cockfights in the House by the Victoria Harbour. Especially now while we endure the Pandemic and face the prospect of its aftermath. We are all together in this and our will should resonate across that archaic two sward-length wide dividing space in the Floor of the Chamber of the House.
The times ahead are difficult we need to be all together. Let the vox populi penetrate the walls of the Legislature and resonate in the hall of the Legislature.