On the outs

New Democrat MLAs are practising good politics by opposing the harmonized sales tax inside the legislature. But that opposition could ultimately be less effective than the campaign being waged against that tax outside the legislature. Let me explain. Right now, the New Democrats are trying to convince seven Liberal MLAs to vote against a bill that will pave the way for the HST. But thanks to the principle of caucus solidarity - which sees MLAs punished if they vote against their party - the chances of that happening are thinner than slim. And New Democrat leader Carole James should know that - having suspended one of her MLAs for breaking ranks and voting against the Tsawwassen Final Agreement.

Which means the Campbell administration will be able to use the strength of its majority to force that bill through the legislature. But, outside the Rockpile, Bill Vander Zalm has launched an anti-HST petition initiative that could legally force the Liberals to axe that tax or call a referendum on it. And that gives British Columbia's ex-premier arguably far more potential power than any of the province's elected opposition members. And I have to wonder what that says about the state of representative democracy in this province.

2 Comments

The mantra the politicians espouse that we live in a democracy is just an illusion. The representatives we send to the Legislature as well as the House of Commons do their best to convince us that they are running to represent the voters when in fact they will only represent the party they run under. If you want a true democracy then make political parties illegal.

If I was Mr. Vander Zalm, I would instruct the canvassers in the ten ridings that the Liberal members won by the smallest margins to get every vote possible for his initiative. If they can get as many or more than are required for recall, these Liberal MLAs may fear the heat brought on by their constituents enough to grow some backbone and prove they will stand up for those they profess to represent. If they know that there is a good chance that recall legislation could succeed in their particular riding, they may be motivated to doing the right thing.

As for the NDP, if they spent less time trying to come up with catchy slogans, and more time on exposing the impacts the HST will have on regular families, they could possibly embarass some of the less secure Liberal MLAs.

Crankypants | April 5, 2010 11:41 PM

Great idea chucking political parties. No nation that tried that could live long w/o them. Not Canada, not America - even though George Washington hated political parties.

If I were Mr. Vander Zalm, I'd just keep rotting away. BCLibs don't have time of day for him, especially that Charger that finished off VanderZalm's SoCreds. And if he gets a damn HST whine doc to the Legislature... Gordon Campbell will probably torch it to show how tough the old grizzly still is. And Mary Polak will provide her unique version of children & family development on that too... she's more man than at least 75 of them MLAs...

As for the BCNDP, they're so broke they need to die for the BC left to come back. The best companion to Premier Gordon Campbell is Leader of the Opposition Carole James. She is BC's Stephane Dion - complete with a caucus of failures (e.g. Kariagianis) and meek souls and one, maybe two contenders (e.g. Farnworth and possibly Popham). If Carole wanted the Premiership, she'd repeal the HST if made Premier, commission a tax reform commission now and realize that she's been playing at Gordon Campbell Place for too long instead of home turf.

I could go on, but I'm sure even one w/ a handle of Crankypants has had about enough of my cranky nature this morning. Have a great day :-)!

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