Rafe: BC Liberals taking heavy fire, but NDP need to pour on the gasoline

BCNDP Leader John Horgan (Flickr/BCNDP) and Premier Christy Clark (Flickr/Province of BC)
BCNDP Leader John Horgan (Flickr/BCNDP) and Premier Christy Clark (Flickr/Province of BC)

It’s not easy to write an article on politics in the quiet backwater of British Columbia in light of the tragedy in Quebec. I’m going to make this, then, a doubleheader. 

This past weekend, the initial story, of course, was all President Trump as he found new ways to prod anti-Muslims by pretending to be concerned about national security. At the same time, there was a story out of Austria that they plan to ban the niqab. To say that there is no connection between those and similar stories and the tragedy in Quebec is to be blindly naïve. This is not, of course, to say that Trump or the Austrian government are directly responsible for Sunday’s dead and wounded but it is to say that when leaders talk the same language as the bigot, it encourages the imbalanced, for whom very little encouragement is needed.

None of our business

What I find extraordinary is that anyone can get all worked up about what somebody wears on their face or anywhere else for that matter. There’s no outbreak of violence or bank robberies committed by women in niqabs. Muslim women wear it because that’s their religion and surely they’re entitled to their beliefs. It’s none of our business that we don’t care for some of the customs of Islam – if Muslims have problems with their religion then it’s for them to do something about it. Those who cry out against women would do better to take on the Catholic church, yet, during the long centuries Christianity has discriminated against women. there’s been no attempt I know of by Muslims to break into Catholic churches and insist upon women becoming priests.

There is one axiom which I’ve learned after many painful experiences, namely – it’s a pretty good idea in life to mind your own damn business.

BC Liberals taking heavy fire early on

Onto BC politics. There are three months and a bit to go before the election and no doubt there will be considerably more activity as time goes on than there is now. That said, there are some unusual aspects already.

I don’t ever remember a government being so hammered by so many people so hard and so soon. A lot of that, of course, is from social media, which has only recently become a force, but, aside from that, the mainstream media who have shown absolutely no ability to do their journalistic duty for the past 15 years are now coming out of their bolt holes and criticizing the government. The government must be pretty bad for that to happen.

NDP slow to take advantage

The NDP's only shot at winning in BC: Embrace the NEW ECONOMY
BCNDP Leader John Horgan has a tough road to hoe to win the next election (BCNDP/Flickr)

At the same time, the opposition seems to simply float. Once in a while an issue pops up but it doesn’t last long, not being a key issue on people’s minds. As I’ve said many times, John Horgan has hurt his party badly by taking LNG out of play. This should be a huge issue but won’t make the big stage unless the NDP force it. It’s such a hopeless issue for the Liberals they’re not going to raise it and Mr. Horgan approved LNG, without qualification, because he’s said, “We cannot be against everything.” This has torn a great chunk out of the NDP armoury.

Those who are anxious to see the Liberal government tossed out have no real choice but to vote NDP and it may be that Mr. Horgan’s strategy is to play possum and simply hope that the Liberals fall so hard there is no need for him to do anything except be there. That’s a very dangerous strategy, but I suspect that’s what he’s up to – unless he simply doesn’t know anything about campaigning.

Green Party not really a contender

When you reach my advanced antiquity, you’re entitled to break the rules a bit so I’m going to say that I’m sad that the Green party is not, at least so far, much of a contender. My sympathies are certainly Green and I’m not nearly as troubled as I once was by the notion that they are a one-trick pony. Having seen, in the last 20 years, the two other experienced parties with their hands on the tiller, I can’t see much to be worried about if the Greens took hold.

Rafe- Weaver, BC Greens should quit supporting private river power sham
Dr. Andrew Weaver, leader of the BC Green Party, has long supported IPPs

But they’re not going to take over this time and any seats taken will be a bonus and a surprise. I believe that their leader, Dr. Andrew Weaver, should have stayed in the classroom and left politics to someone who understands the “game” and is prepared to learn the unfamiliar areas.

Weaver was one of the early supporters of the Liberal’s IPP policy, which, as we now know (and had certified in no uncertain terms here recently by Norman Farrell), has been a disaster. It has ruined the rivers involved, including their fish, and has contributed mightily to BC Hydro being essentially bankrupt. We all make errors but Weaver has shown no interest in changing on this issue, even though expert opinion, including Dr. David Suzuki’s, is no longer with him.

On the other hand, he has the human frailty of being unable to risk losing face, so he continues in the belief that IPPs produce clean power – not because that’s so but because he’s unable to admit error. Because of that, he has all but destroyed the chances of the Green party to make the strides that, one year ago, seemed so possible.

A little humour – I just received an offer to go to a Green “do” and on the invitation was “Dr. Andrew Weaver, the current leader” will be there! Dr. Weaver, I’d be looking over my shoulder if I were you!

I regard the Green party in a slightly different light than others in the election because their realistic object is to build and secure a future and leave the attaining of office until better prepared to fight under this preposterous system we have. They are in the position where their greatest virtue will be patience and taking consolation from the fact that their support among people worldwide is far greater than their representatives in various legislatures suggests. What has happened is they are now part of policing governments and even sharing office and their influence is stronger by the year.

I look at the two main combatants as being pretty long in the tooth to be depended upon for anything new, innovative, and helpful – much like old journalists I suppose. That being the case, I believe that the Green party, if it plays its hand well – starting with dumping Weaver after the election – and works like hell on policy and membership, the public will find the party more and more attractive. But you can’t do that unless your leader is attractive.

And he isn’t.


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.

16 thoughts on “Rafe: BC Liberals taking heavy fire, but NDP need to pour on the gasoline

  1. Rafe get over your IPP grudge with Weaver and start seeing the forest from the trees.

    Weaver is kicking ass. Be honest and just look at the actual bills he has put forward as an MLA rather than just be a hack because he pissed you off once on something I also agree was stupid.

    Both the BC Liberals and BC NDP are fucking up *BIG* on the issue of ridesharing / Uber and it’s going to hurt them at the ballot box in cosmopolitan Vancouver and Victoria. Weaver had the insight to still be the only party to support ridesharing.

    I know federal liberals who are volunteering full time for the Greens. Weaver is uniting an interesting band of people together, hard core environmentalists and moderate pro-business people who don’t mind a little bit of an environmental kink to their politics. The latter group is extremely valuable and Weaver’s positioning of the Green’s as the “moderate centre” between the NDP and BC Liberals is exactly where the party needs to position itself to see huge gains next cycle.

    Mainstreet Research has the Greens polling at 19%. Highest ever. They are at where Notley was before she swept Alberta. All Weaver needs is one good debate performance, and conditions are ripe for the Greens to see massive gains Gordon Wilson style.

  2. Bang on Rafe about Dr. Weaver and Mr. Horgan’s invisibility, due to our corporate media. This election is going to be fought on social media, the next one even more so. This election a vote that’s green might as well be Liberal red.

  3. Go check out the NDP “platform”: grizzly bears, fentanyl and minimum wage. Oh, wait. There’s a “climate plan” too. Go ahead. Read it. It will tell you all about climate change and exactly what needs to be done and how it will be funded and the tough policy choices we’ll need to make to change direction… Just kidding. It’s about pretty clouds and unicorns and magic. You don’t need to know the details. Just sign up and donate.

  4. Where the hell is Horgan? Where the hell is the NDP?

    Viki Huntington is retiring, there is no one to vote for!

  5. The NDP website does not even have a list of candidates running…..Like what is up with that? The NDP are going to let another opportunity pass them by i think….

  6. after campbell sold out bc hyro, did anybody notice that harper gave him that cushy job in london, england? nice reward for dirty tricks on british columbians. i guess when christy gets thru with us, maybe she’ll get her own tropical island, and the only people in all of british columbia trying to do anything about it is rafe mair and friends and associates.

    1. Did you also notice that Gordon Campbell took that cushy Trade Commisioners job immediately after he resigned as Premier AND cut a $6 million dollar deal with Basi and Virk’s lawyers to squash the BC Rail insider information trial.
      A $6 million dollar deal that was illegal ( due to the amount) because there was no debate about it.
      Someone very high up ok’ed the money transfer and washed their hands of the whole sordid , messy trial. Just before some very smart, informed people were about to testify in Court about who knew what and when.
      No one is allowed to talk about it. No one
      And Christy Clark walks into her job as appointed Premier.
      Disgusting doesnt even begin to describe this govt.
      Horgan The Mute ?
      Let David Eby do all the talking .

      1. Update!

        Apparently the Liberals have a “Mole” in the NDP election campaign.

        An hour BEFORE Horgan was to make an announcement to the press the Liberals began mocking his plans.


        The Liberals publicly grandstand with stolen information……

        Gotta love how low that Liberal Party has crawled.
        And lets not kid ourselves, Christy Clark would have seen the “aquired” info and approved its release.
        Guttersnipe doesnt even begin to describe her level of integrity.

        Vote “AnyonebutChristy”

        1. LOL as the expression goes. The non-NDP governments have been been paying NDP moles for decades now through the BCGEU. How often have government plans etc been leaked by those moles? If you look at that NDP platform, it was essentially bland at best…so not much of a coup.

  7. Sorry to hear you are ailing Rafe.

    I pretty much agree with this one.

    One or two matters though. First niquab is cultural, not religious. Men have tried to make it seem as though it is religious in order to continue to impose controls on women.

    Second, a Global streeter yesterday asked 75 people who John Horgan is…5 knew the correct answer.

    It is difficult to take seriously a man who was almost literally shanghaied into the position of “Leader” after no-one in the province-including him-wanted the job.

    If the NDamnableP (for purile) do wind up dipping their tiny hands into the public coffers again in a few weeks, it will not be because of any sterling qualities of Horgan or the NDP, but because we once again booted out yet another corrupt and cynical bunch of miscreants…in favour of a new bunch of miscreants. How long I wonder until the NDP again get so desperate for tax dollars they bring in the equivalent of another Road Kill Tax?

    The Greens? Not even an amusing side-show.

    Be well soon.



  8. You mention Trump, and the Austrian Government as having some responsibility for inciting
    the Quebec ( and other) tragedies. Looking a little closer to home, I would include Kellie Lietch ( an anti-muslim, anti-immigrant trainee of Harpers) in the circle of blame.

    1. Good point John. One must keep uppermost in one’s mind the fact the so-called Conservative Party is in fact the Reform Party Of Canada. A group which would be very comfortable in the midst of the xian nutbar party called the Republicans.

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