Provincial politics

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

Andrew Wilkinson’s election as leader of the BC Liberals has been a much-frequented topic of discussion this week in the provincial media.

One of the opinions I’ve heard several times now is that he’s too argumentative, too much of a bully or too divisive.

Far from endorsing him in his new role, sorry but this is a load of nonsense. I say this despite describing most legislatures as high school class with extra hormones.

In the most recent provincial election, both the Liberals and the NDP pulled strongly to the middle.

Obviously, there are still differences but on some of the major issues they ended up in a similar corner; Site C, a project initiated by the Liberals, still got the go-ahead from the NDP, the Liberals introduced a bill to ban corporate and union political donations and somehow the NDP is pushing for an LNG expansion.

The once-dubbed “kingmaking” Green Party may speak boisterously on some issues but they are unlikely to do anything until at the very least the electoral reform issue has been dealt with (notwithstanding Horgan suddenly pursuing new coal plants), which politically speaking has got to be their number one issue.

The claim that any of our current provincial party leaders, not just Wilkinson, are too argumentative or too much like bullies is worthy of a satirical news site like the Onion or the Beaverton (or meme-status for the younger readers) compared to the politics at play south of the border or even the political scenario playing out in Ontario where one side is dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct and Rob Ford’s brother running for the leadership while the other party’s leadership on their hydro situation makes the problems plaguing ICBC seem cute.

Something like “B.C. opposition leader apologizes for disagreeing with the government.”

Certainly, neither the U.S. or Ontario should be held up as an example, but it provides some apparently much-needed contrast.

If anything, just a few months shy of the first full year following the provincial election, it’s about time there was some vocal criticism of the government that doesn’t come from the general public; even if it’s just for the purposes of playing devil’s advocate.

A strong and critical opposition party is of crucial importance for the health of our democracy, especially as the closure of newsrooms or reductions in the sizes of newsrooms mean fewer journalists at our provincial parliament.

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