BC Greens sullied by friendship with Liberals

BC Premier Christy Clark (Province of BC/Flickr) and Greens Leader Dr. Andrew Weaver
BC Premier Christy Clark (Province of BC/Flickr) and Greens Leader Dr. Andrew Weaver

It’s always difficult to lose a friend even, perhaps especially when it is mostly a friend of convenience. Friendship covers a lot of ground, all the way from that which leads consenting adults into the sack through the Arab expression “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Political friendship is cynical, temporary, and, far from loving, practical.

I leave it to you to decide how close the Liberal party of BC and the Green party were as friends but you’ll  remember earlier this year the Liberals fell all over themselves allowing the Green leader, Andrew Weaver, to bring in a bill protecting women on the campus from sexual assaults. To say this was a cooked up deal scarcely needs any verification, if you know anything at all about politics. Things like this don’t happen by accident.

The Liberals know that every vote cast for the Greens would otherwise be NDP, and this coziness did more for the Liberals than the Greens as Premier Clark was able to vouchsafe unto all of us the terrible story of how she was once followed by a man and she was so brave she didn’t tell a soul.

But Dr. Weaver has become unpopular on the Mainland as an absentee leader who has cast aside constituencies like West Vancouver-Sea-to-Sky, where I live, which is virtually a single-issue constituency as are a great many, with that issue an environmental one. Even though what’s left of the tattered media will always conjure up issues such as taxes, health, education, transit and so on, almost all ridings have a central issue and these days it’s often environmental. Ours is the proposed LNG facility in Squamish.

Greens have real chance in West Van

In the last Federal campaign, the Green candidate, Ken  Melamed, was very popular and in mid-campaign I’d have wagered my Green pullover that he would win as the only candidate to stand foursquare against Woodfibre LNG (eventually joined by lesser known NDP candidate Larry Koopman). Then the “strategic voting” wave went across the country as the fear that Harper and his lickspittles might win hit voters. He was sandbagged by fear and could do nothing.

The former mayor of West Vancouver, Pamela Goldsmith -Jones, assured the voters that unlike the incumbent Tory,  John Weston, she would heed the wishes of her constituents.  There being but one big issue, this was taken to mean she would oppose WLNG.

She won by a landslide. Then, as so often happens in politics, she immediately let the side down and supported Trudeau when he hastily approved WLNG.

The Greens are still here and they had great hopes that with a good candidate, perhaps Mr. Melamed, they could best the Liberal MLA, Jordan Sturdy, who loyally supports Premier Photo Op and WLNG. While a great many voters want him out, there must be an alternative. Until Dr. Weaver became damaged goods, it was assumed that the Green party would run a good candidate and, although no riding is a slam dunk for the Greens, this came as close as it gets.

But, what about money? That’s well nigh impossible to raise without a viable leader and the Liberals have, in a strange irony, the most viable of the lot. Moreover, WLNG can be expected to duplicate their past generosity – in 2015 they cut a generous cheque and paid for a huge fundraising bun toss at, no less, the Capilano Golf Club & Country Club.

What’s happened to the good Dr. Weaver?

Weaver supports private river power

It’s a sad cautionary tale, summed up years ago when Harry Belafonte said “Don’t turn your back on the masses, mon!”

Dr. Weaver’s most egregious sin was supporting Gordon Campbell’s private “run of river” legislation which, in the event you have been vacationing on the moon for the last few years, has given private companies a beautiful sweetheart deal whereby they can destroy hundreds of rivers, then sell the electricity to BC Hydro at 2 to 3 times its value, on a take-or-pay basis. As predicted by many in these pages numerous times, this was bound to ruin the rivers and eventually bankrupt BC Hydro. In fact, the results are far worse than anyone predicted.

What did Weaver have to do with this?

Well, in 2008, before he was an MLA, he supported this Liberal party energy “policy” and declared that the power created by “run of river” was “clean, green energy” (listen here to his robo-call on behalf of the Campbell energy policy).

It was anything but and that’s not the end of the story for Dr. Weaver who, in order not to lose face, still supports this environmental and fiscal disaster in spite of the evidence. Now he’s the leader of an environmental party!

I have learned that when Dr. Weaver made his “clean and green” pronouncement in 2008 he didn’t even bother to take a look at the easily accessed Ashlu River, near Squamish, which was one of the first, finished “run of river” projects. If he had done that, as I and a number of others did, he would have seen the truth – a beautiful salmon river destroyed.

Greens know why they are Green, and following someone who supports destruction of rivers is not on. This act of generosity to the Campbell/Clark regime no doubt has a lot to do with their kindness to wards Dr. Weaver in the Legislature.

A golden opportunity missed

Back to West Vancouver – Sea-To-Sky. As mentioned, the Greens are still here but I doubt that they will run a candidate as long as Weaver leads the party, which is excellent news for premier Clark, who ranks up there with Ujjal Dosanjh as the worst premier this province has ever seen.

It’s also good news for John Horgan, the inept leader of the NDP, who may already have blown his chances simply by not showing up. Moreover, he lacks the aura of leadership required to look like a premier in waiting.

It’s also good news for Sukanto Tanoto, the Indonesian crook and jungle destroyer who owns Woodfibre LNG.

What’s going to happen in 2017?

Unless the public is so fed up with Clark they throw her out and the NDP tumble into office by default, it will be the same inept lot again.  I can only remember one accidental election as opposed to a mere upset, that in 1952 when the Coalition was so unpopular that a hardware merchant from Kelowna, William Andrew Cecil Bennett, was suddenly the premier of British Columbia and remained so for 20 years. There was a wrinkle in 1952 however – the Coalition broke up before the election and the Conservatives and Liberals ran individually.

It’s said that “if you can’t be good, be lucky”.

Well it would take a pretty devout Liberal, half in the bag to boot, to call Christy Clark good, yet the signs are she will still be premier after May 7, 2017.


About 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.

24 thoughts on “BC Greens sullied by friendship with Liberals

  1. I strongly disagree that the Greens take that many votes from the Liberals – the NDP don’t own Green voters and they have no allegiance political or otherwise with the Greens.

    Stuart Mackinnon [GP of Vancouver Parks Board] is endorsing George Chow, Andera Reimer is working with George Heyman. It really depends on where you are located in the province where you make your political friends.

    Weaver is playing both sides and IF a minority comes about he and anyone who gets elected as a Green will play a major role, regardless of how long it may last.

  2. Only Rafe and his envirocrit friends believe this a one issue-an environmental one- election in the West Van Sea to Sky riding. Get your head out of your privileged butt and come down from your lofty Lions Bay perch to the real world Rafe. It is leaving you well behind. Many issues to be addressed in this and every riding.

    1. Geez, Michael, if you want to go beyond this issue, the argument for voting against the Liberals only becomes stronger. Christy Clark’s Liberal govt has doubled our provincial debt – plus $110 Billion in additional taxpayer obligations – all but bankrupted BC Hydro, driven up power bills and ICBC rates and made housing unaffordable to all but the rich. They’ve closed 300 schools and been found guilty by the Supreme Court for breaking education promises, given us the highest child poverty rate in the country, frozen out seniors, disabled people and basically anyone who isn’t one of their fat cat donor pals. All this facilitated by a complete lack of ethics or integrity – embarrassing us in the eyes of the world as a third-rate banana republic of bribery, kickbacks, and shady campaign financing…But, hey, thanks for raising that point – it’s a good one. https://commonsensecanadian.ca/economist-thanks-liberals…/

  3. your at it again I think you are in favor of the liberals and getting paid to slam Green party, , who could have known that the deal that Hydro made would be so damaging and did Andrew know the outcomes before hand Everyone’s been schmoozed by Campbell and christy I see right through this

  4. Your Green candidate, Ken Melamed, should have considered running as an independent if he had that much community support?

  5. Rafe—you can’t help yourself can you—doesn’t help the cause to keep slagging the NDP—she will be premier after May 7—for 2 days—the election is May 9 !!!

  6. WAC’s election in 1952 was also because we had a preferential ballot at the time – referendum’d in by 50% + 1, instigated by the Grits and Tories no less.

  7. Is there any utility in promoting the BC Conservatives over the next six months? There’s no worry they’ll win, but perhaps we can help them garner ~ 30% of the right-leaning popular vote?

  8. It’s more than a little scary how quickly the bright lights of a party that we assume understands about climate change, turn into political opportunists. This information should be more widely known, since for all of us working to preserve our environment, and maybe even cut greenhouse gas emissions NOW……..Greens getting into bed with BC Liberals is a pretty devastating blow.

  9. An analysis of the 2013 election compared to the 2009 election shows that the BC Greens had a larger impact on the BC Liberals than the BC NDP.

    A weaker Green party is good for the NDP and bad for the Liberals

  10. I concur with Rafe. The Greens and the NDP have badly dropped the ball in BC. The West Vancouver/Sea-to Sky Riding, where I live, would be a natural for a Green “win” but the leadership shown to date whether Weaver or Melamed (not particularly popular after his stint as Whistler’s mayor) has been non-existent, flimsy, incoherent. The NDP might have had a chance if they also had coherent leaders who showed that they really cared about the environment and who recognized that the proposed Wood Fibre LNG plant – approved uncaringly, without real consideration or consultation by Trudeau – will be disastrous for the whole of iconic Howe Sound and its ongoing recovery. Many of us now completely distrust the Federal Liberals, Trudeau and his henchman/woman, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, who deceitfully during the election run-up gave the impression she was against the WFLNG. Now she has reversed herself and basically supports Clark and the Lib-Cons on the excremental project. Because the Greens and NDP are too arrogant or stupid to join forces to defeat the Lib-Con Sturdy, and finally give voice to the extensive environmental concerns in this riding, I fear that a repeat of the last 4 years is going to happen. C’est dommage!

    1. Melamed was the only Councillor who stood against the Olympic farce coming to Whistler and for that stance and as Whistler’s most prominent progressive politician he is still slandered today. It is laughable how those ignorant of the facts still love taking pot shots at those more credible than themselves.

    2. i think the lack of co operation between the Greens and the NDP lies at the foot of the BC Green Party’s leadership. By most accounts and despite a long list of obvious common values, Dr. Weaver has treated his NDP colleagues with ambivalence…and that’s putting it nicely. His attitude toward the BC Teacher’s union…the people who educate our children… has been disrespectful and testy.
      Not good signs of diplomacy. His BC Liberal coziness is more smoke…and where there is smoke…there is usually fire. John Horgan might not be Joe Charisma…but he’s an honest John… and that’s a rare trait among politicians. If you value socially and environmentally progressive policy…and you truly want to get rid of Christy and Reg…vote NDP . If you are a Green Party supporter vote NDP, and get your Green friends to do the same. Please.

      1. The NDP have NOT been Green friendly since 2001, their response as it was back then is “here sign your NDP membership card” which is obviously not going to work as more people wise up to the tactic.

  11. I’m afraid if Weaver remains the BC Green party will not win. Certainly the Libs and NDP are poor options, but sadly Weaver/Green is worse! It will be a sad day in May when Chrispy retains her position because the opposition parties failed to be worthy opponents.

    1. Watch the bc liberals desperately try to revive or retain the green party with Weaver at the helm.
      Weaver sides with the liberals in the house constantly and splits the progressive vote from the opposition.

      1. dan, you just illustrated why it’s wise to look at a contender’s true actions. Just before the Federal election a post came to me that Trudeau had voted 70 times in favour of Harper’s moves in the Commons or else he was absent or abstained to vote –which is not the kind of behaviour I wanted to see in a contender for Prime Minister promising to go against the current regime. Weaver’s acting just the same.

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