When is a democracy not a democracy?
When the democratically elected representatives don’t sit, debate, and vote on issues before the government. Welcome to the Protectorate of British Columbia, where we are ruled by Liberal spin-doctors and their re-election machine.
News last week that the Liberals have cancelled the fall sitting of the legislature is undoubtedly predicated by spin-doctor rationale that MLAs are tougher to be held accountable for their actions when not required to answer questions about their shenanigans.
It should be mentioned, though, that Premier Christy Clark learned this particular trick from her predecessor, Gordon Campbell, who also thought that democratic conventions got in the way of ruling and would often cancel sittings of the legislature.
Newly-minted Finance Minister Mike de Jong’s first order of business was to break the news that natural gas revenues in the province were down and, as a result, the province has undertaken austerity measures akin to the Bill Bennett days of the early 1980s.
Isn’t that, and the measures the government is going to undertake to try and balance the books, worthy of discussion by our Legislature? Apparently not.
Instead, all the forces of government will focus on preparing a budget that the Liberals can present next spring, just prior to the election, telling us that all is well with the world because they are at the helm.
Even though the province is now blustering about on the Northern Gateway Pipeline project, shouldn’t its position be debated in our Legislature? Apparently not.
It was just a few short months ago that this same Liberals government rushed through a spate of legislation in the spring sitting so they could get the summer break started in time.
While this province has extremely robust employment numbers, child poverty is still more of an issue here than in the rest of the country. Shouldn’t that be discussed in the Legislature? Apparently not.
When those who are looking for your vote come knocking on your door next spring, just ask them one question: Are you and/or your party committed to having spring and fall sittings of the legislature every year?
Those who cannot commit that are not committed to democracy and, therefore, not worthy of democracy’s highest honour … your vote.