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Rafe: Weaver would be crazy to make pact with Christy; NDP should have nailed Libs on economy, LNG

Posted May 11, 2017 by Rafe Mair in Politics
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The three BC leaders at the televised debate (Photo: Broadcast Consortium)

It’s May 10, 2017 as I write this, an appropriate date to examine the election, being the anniversary of the Nazi invasion of France and the Low Countries in 1940 and the day Winston Churchill came to the rescue. Like then, much of the information during the campaign was questionable and virtually all of the mainstream media suppositions by a lamentable herd of trained seals unable to report intelligibly or intelligently. The stage was set by 16 years of kissing the backside of the provincial government, the print media distinguishing itself by managing to avoid the number one story of the times – their own newspapers’ deal with the oil industry ensuring that the latter always looked good in the newspapers and governments that wanted good press would be kind to the fossil fuel industry.

How annoying it was to hear the Global gabbers pontificate that when one party, with 100 votes cast, had 46% and the other 44%, thus the former had a “two point lead” – a piddling, meaningless statement. They used the same method with 5000 votes cast where that 2% was a substantial and perhaps final margin. In baseball, it’s percentages of hits per at bat; in politics it’s the number of hits that count. One might have expected the political pundits might have picked that up somewhere along the way.

Clark’s true economic record should have been downfall

There can be no doubt that all three parties lost one way or another. The Clark Liberals, with enough money to launch a small country, couldn’t buy a majority. The NDP, with the manifest sins of the Liberals to work with, couldn’t get a majority. The Green party with an electorate in the mood for environmental reform, managed three seats, all on friendly Vancouver Island.

That the Liberals sort of won had far less to do with their good record than the gentleness of Mr. Horgan on issues he wasn’t comfortable with, like money. That analysis runs contrary to what the media has said which is strong, if not irrefutable evidence that I’m bang on.

Courtesy of Norm Farrell/In-sights

If I may be so bold – and this is my blog after all – I warned Horgan a couple of years ago that he was letting the Liberals off the hook in the very area they claimed a monopoly on wisdom, handling our money. Their constant fallback position was that the NDP always wantonly run up public debt and drive away business. This allegation doesn’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny, so why did it prevail in the election?

The answer is that the issue has the NDP spooked. It’s been repeated so often they believe it themselves!

The list of Liberal fiscal shortcomings is lengthy but I would have thought that doubling the provincial debt in 16 years and essentially bankrupting BC Hydro in the bargain would have been enough. Liberal construction overruns alone make Glen Clark’s “fast ferry fiasco” look picayune by comparison; add Site C, the issue that dare not speak its name, and it’s a wonderment that the Liberals got any votes at all. In short, what the Liberals got was that which Mr. Horgan could have got had he campaigned on issues and not spent time showing what a sweet guy he really is, despite nasty Liberal rumours about a nasty disposition.

NDP dropped the ball on LNG

Harken back for a moment to the LNG issue, which is where Horgan went politically bonkers. In politics, you simply do not take an issue completely out of play in order to look like a candidate for political sainthood. LNG was an immense and highly embarrassing failure for Clark so why did Mr. Horgan not beat up the Liberals on that point?

“Why”, he said, “we can’t be against everything”. Any politician with the faintest idea of what he was doing would have said “we’re in favour of development of our natural resources consistent with sound environmental practices and evidence that each development is in the best interests of the public of British Columbia”.

If he had done that he could have won my riding for one. Moreover, it would’ve left it open to him to raise hell about massive expenses of the Liberal government in chasing this ever-disappearing will-o-the wisp, guaranteed by Christy, no less, which would make us rich and relieve us forever from all debt. He could then have shown Christy Clark to be a legitimate object of ridicule – and ridicule is one thing a politician cannot survive. Horgan and his party couldn’t employ this massive weapon because, of course, he could hardly attack Clark’s bumptious bullshit about something he and his party supported!

How the Greens lost too

The Greens lost in a rather different sense of the word. They were in a province which has become more alive environmentally in the last 10 years than anywhere else in Canada. Not only was there the LNG plant in Squamish but the huge issue of Kinder Morgan and related undertakings. And in this atmosphere they took three seats, all on Vancouver Island, the Green “stronghold”, and none even close to where many of the environmental desecrations are planned.

I have no doubt that had the Greens been able to whisk Elizabeth May away from Ottawa, they would not only have done better, they would have been serious contenders throughout the province.

The elephant in the room

When all’s said and done, the Liberals “won” because there were so many minor issues to divert attention from massive Liberal mismanagement, a diversion not achieved by Liberal cleverness but NDP cowardice, arising from their willingness to believe that their dealings with fiscal matters would be laughed at by voters conditioned to believe implicitly in NDP fiscal incompetence.

In addition, there was the lazy excuse that the public simply doesn’t understand big figures and colossal losses.

That may be partly so – but only partly. Had Mr. Horgan hammered at the absolute falsehood that the Liberals had actually balanced the budget, had he translated the tragedy of BC Hydro into huge rate increases, and had he expressed the doubling of the provincial debt in terms of higher taxes and diminished social services, spiced with that extraordinary YouTube presentation of Christy congratulating her parents for leaving their children no debt and promising the same fiscal rectitude for BC, then I have no doubt the public would have understood fully.

With the exception of independent papers, the media was appalling at presenting issues with coherent analysis. To think that the Campbell energy policy which ruined so many rivers and set BC Hydro on a path to bankruptcy went unmentioned in the mainstream media from its launch in 2003 until now, speaks volumes for the decline of that once-honourable profession.

Where do we go from here?

As to what will happen now, I have no more idea than anyone else except that I can say what should not happen. The Green party would be mad to unite with the Liberals, just as a suitable way for them to reward Dr. Weaver with a cabinet post for his all his political kindness to them. It’s to the left not right Greens must look if they are going to gather public support.

The Green party have a glorious opportunity to expand both in terms of numbers and appeal to thinking British Colombia if they avoid the future machinations of the BC Liberal party. It would make a great deal more sense if they were to support, short of a coalition, a minority NDP government, should that prove numerically possible.

I close with this observation – you might consider that any one of the three leaders was successful but that’s only because you’re comparing them to two losers. In their respective fields, they each failed by substantial underachievement, least so Weaver, who now must demonstrate that the Green Party can successfully move onto the Mainland and to other regions and his next move will tell.

I hope they can – and do.

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About the Author

Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

22 Comments


  1.  
    Troy

    Weaver is anything but stupid, his fatal flaw is his hubris wich will flank him sooner or later, it always does. My guess is he will not make any overt agreement or pact, however his Liberal leanings will become obvious by his actions down the road. If we are judged by our actions then Weaver is a card carrying Liberal. To even call him a progressive is innacurate, how in the name of all that is sacred he bacame the “Leader” of the BCGP I will never understand.




  2.  
    Emily

    What will happen this new ‘government’ will last 12-18 months (even if minority or a razor thin one seat majority), during that time the libs will replace Clark (I hope not Falcon) then have an election and the libs will get a majority.

    For some reason not enough people willing to elect an NDP government. Is the NDP a damaged brand? I really do not think the NDP is up to job anymore. Last 2 even 3 elections they could of and should of won but they don’t. I really dunno what is with them anymore..

    I also would expect the legislature to sit the absolute bare minimum too.

    If the BC Libs get someone like Dianne Watts the NDP will be out of power for another generation..




  3.  
    Hal

    I too was disappointed in the NDP’s campaign since Rafe has given them all the economic ammunition that could have been used to great effect. The graph on debt says a thousand words. None of the facts were raised and I witnessed little more than signs from all parties. Maybe it is time to find some candidates who really take the gloves off when it is needed.




  4.  

    Well, I guess there’s no sense crying over spilled milk, but I think the BC NDP brass, or whoever’s decision it was to choose the nominees, need to be thrown out on their keysters. Who in their right mind would have chosen a liar like Gerry Taft, a loser like Harry Lali, an unpopular city councillor like Tarik Saheed, and a transgender person in Vancouver-False Creek? And whose brilliant idea was it to run Casavant against a shoo-in like Weaver?

    The 2013 campaign staff lost that election ,IMHO, and they lost this one as well. Horgan should have had more say in who his fellow candidates were. One of the MSM pre-election stories told of how Horgan had wanted a different candidate in the Fraser Nicola riding, but Lali was chosen instead.

    Until the NDP gets their act together and starts choosing candidates by intellect and people skills rather than by which minority group they fit in, they will never truly win an election. My God, if they can’t win against an incompetent, arrogant, greedy, corrupt party like the BC Liberals, who can they win against?




    •  
      Hal

      The idea that anyone from the 90’s like Lali is tainted is the kind of silliness that the media have created and people fall for. The facts say otherwise. There is no benefit in recruiting a bunch of candidate who want to “play nice” and just hold a job for 4 years. The MSM has made the NDP afraid to play hardball and the province is running out of time.




  5.  
    Richard V.

    I think the message BC voters sent to both parties is the people of BC do not like the way they are governing. If you are a Liberal you see that sixty percent of the people voted against your party being in power. If you are NDP you should also see that sixty percent of the people voted that they do not want the NDP in power.

    The green party must take that into consideration also.




  6.  
    G. Barry Stewart

    By and large, it was a “smooth” campaign, with all three parties being careful not to rock the boat. No gambling, so no real chance of a big win (or big loss).

    In his interview with Keith Baldrey, Horgan spoke very clearly on the BC Lib-induced troubles at BC Hydro… though I don’t recall Hydro issues coming up elsewhere in the campaign. I’m guessing the NDP message was “handled” by the new team that was brought in.

    Weaver and Horgan both could have made some hay by showing up with the Site C elephant demonstrations, though again, I don’t recall seeing that in any of the media.

    I’m still very hopeful that Greens and the NDP will get together to enact legislation against Big $$in politics, then work at checking off other mutual goals.

    How Greens would keep their identity is such an alliance is a concern for them, I’m sure.




  7.  
    Brian McGavin

    Mr. Mair you are the clearest commentator with an analysis that allows me to see other options clearly in the issues facing British Columbia & indeed the world. Thank you, Mr. Rafe Mair.




  8.  
    Cate

    I don’t see why people keep lauding Weaver. I see real issues of severe personality disorder with him. He frightens me and I do think he’s nuts. I think his ego is so fragile that he will be a Trump like figure in that way. He won’t do what’s best for his party or for the province but for himself depending on how the winds are blowing that day. I also will be looking for people coming out saying he’s attacked them verbally and has an anger issue. Like the nonexistent one he tried to paint Horgan with. Horgan is the only decent human being in the bunch,




  9.  
    Rob

    Simple ad
    BC Hydro Obligation and Actual Debt 2001 x
    BC Hydro Obligation and Actual Debt 2017 xxxxxxx
    With a few points and then a connection to a balanced budget achieved by raping BCH this could have been huge!




  10.  
    Rafe

    Salal You are too kind sir. I’m afraid my following would be my doctor, an ambulance, and Wendy’s lawyer!

    As I said to my buddies in the Stockman’s bar when I came back to Kamloops after my first three weeks as a member of the BC cabinet “Guys, it’s a hell of a lot easier running the province from her with a single malt whiskey in hand than from the cabinet room.” I had a great run, a super premier and the odd colleague who would speak tp me from time to time!




  11.  
    Hawgwash

    Well there you go, agreeing with me again.
    I’m told I’m nuts for believing the Liberals won and I say so because they should have been closer to the morgue than the majority line.

    43 Liberal seats is something Horgan has to wear and the fact that somehow, in spite of all the Liberal misdeeds, they still attracted half the voters, says much about peoples reading skills and attention spans.

    Like you, I have been hard on Mr. Horgan but maintained I would acknowledge his success if he achieved it. A safe bet, because he should have buried the Liberals on any number of files in the past 4 years and in the campaign.

    The Green Weaver is in a tough spot. Clark will use him solely for her own gain and discard him like a Health researcher when done and lie about him while doing it.

    A pact with Mr. Horgan will see the two of them sleeping with one eye open.

    Honestly, I hope Weaver does sign up for a tour on to the Christy ship so we see what he is made of. I think I already know and should I be right, I’m betting the Cowichan Valley will have themselves a very good Independent MLA.




  12.  
    Evil Eye

    Dead right Rafe.

    Who the hell is advising the NDP? Liberal operatives?




    •  
      Hal

      Maybe when the NDP stops running from the 90’s and at times defend against the myths created by the MSM like Black Press, we might actually see some change in their fortunes. The comparisons are all there. Hell I could run a province and give the illusion of a booming economy if I could go in the hole by $150 Billion in 16 years as well as take money form BC Hydro, ICBC, Education and raise MSP and other fees. I could even give business a tax break and let future generations pay off the debt.




  13.  
    Shelarki

    Ralf, you say that if the Greens had whisked Elizabeth May from Ottawa they would have done better. Well, Elizaneth did help the BC Greens. During the Easter break from parliament, she worked tirelessly for candidates on the island, and also the mainland. She attended rallies, fund raisers, waves and she also canvassed. What a woman!




  14.  
    Troy

    I have lost hope in all 3 parties, not a stretch for me because I had very little confidence in either to begin with. Weaver has always had a hand in the liberal’s pants (so to speak), so much so it wreaks of some kind of collusion stew that has been simmering since Gordy’s time. We will get a taste of his stew now I think, and his green groupies will get a taste as well, if you mix red and green you just get a ugly brown stew, that tastes like shit.




  15.  
    Salal

    You tell it like it is Rafe. If you ran for office again…you’d have one hell of a large following. All the best Sir.





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