NCLGA Issues Invite to Horgan and Weaver for Meeting
Prince George, B.C.- The North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) is issuing an invitation to NDP Leader John Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver to come to Prince George for a round table discussion.
Although the Liberal Government hasn’t yet been defeated, the agreement between the New Democrats and Greens makes it inevitable.
The NCLGA represents communities in two thirds of British Columbia and just ten of the elected MLAs are in NCLGA ridings. Only two of those ridings are represented by the NDP, the other 8 have Liberal MLAs. “The principal concern in our region” says NCLGA President, Shaely Wilbur, “is that the northern most parts of BC will be overlooked. During the past administration, half of the North’s MLAs were cabinet Ministers, and political differences and allegiances aside- that meant we mattered”.
“We are a non-partisan organization, but our principle goal is to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of all communities in northern BC” says Wilbur.
Vanderhoof Councillor Brian Frenkel, who served on the NCLGA Board for nearly a decade shares Wilbur’s concerns saying the NDP now have fewer MLAs in the region than in the past, “The Green members represent ridings so far away with such different challenges and opportunities that I’m definitely concerned about the North.”
Regardless of who holds power in Victoria, the NCLGA’s Executive Director, Oliver Ray points out the importance of the North should not be ignored “Northern BC accounts for eighty percent of provincial exports and eighty percent of BC’s agricultural lands. This is the traditional territory for one third of all First Nation governments in BC, sixty percent of the overall indigenous population and we have a demographic that is roughly seventeen percent aboriginal (a ratio that dwarfs any other jurisdiction in the Province). We are also home to some of the largest resource development projects in North America, including Site C, the largest single investment in BC’s history. From a legal, economic, environmental and logistical standpoint, our ten provincial ridings represent one of the most strategically important places on the continent”.
Wilbur says this isn’t about political stripes, “We’re simply insisting that northern municipalities, Regional Districts and First Nations be included in the decision making process. Legislative change, electoral change, the cancelation of some projects and introduction of others can all have a disproportionate effect on many of our communities. And things like job losses, resource allocation, and infrastructure needs in the North actually end up affecting the whole province. So If Andrew Weaver and John Horgan would like to learn about our priorities and perspectives, we would be happy to host them for a roundtable meeting in Prince George. We would certainly welcome their interest!”
Those 10 MLA seats will soon only be 6. The legislature only holds 86MLA’s.
The ndp and green coalition calls for proportional representation by the next election. To facilitate this they intend to make about 20 seats party appointed apparatchik (perpetual political operatives in government) seats that are perpetually held by party insiders. I would call these proportional representation seats LAA seats (Legislative Assembly Apparatchik seats, as opposed to Members of the Legislative Assembly seats we have in our ridings – the two are not equivilant).
To make the legislature fit 20 new party appointed apparatchik seats they will need to fit 86 ridings into 66 ridings as per population only… which will allow them the opportunity to amalgamate the Northern seats from 10 down to 5-6 seats, gerrymandered to benefit partisanship.
End result is the North goes from 1-in-10 of the legislative seats to about 1-in-17 seats. From 10 local MLA’s down to 5-6 local MLA’s. The remaining seats are allocated as per the provincial totals for party establishment rewards.
To implement this we will not have a proper provincial referendum, but rather a plebiscite during municipal elections… totally illegitimate for doing away with the Westminister Parliamentary system of government.
Urban areas are less impacted by proportional rep allocations, so are more likely to support this concept…
Rural areas are less likely to support losing their local MLA’s to riding amalgamation, but are also less likely to have a municipality close by in which they can participate in the vote to disenfranchise their voting power.
Its a rigged and flawed process the coalition proposes, slanted towards their agenda… and then they will implement this in less than a year… riding gerrymandering and all (which makes one think they have the riding gerrymandering already figured out, but keep it secret like their deal because they would never get their vote in the plebiscite if people knew what would happen to their local rural ridings).
Time Will Tell
God help us as a democracy if the parties ever succeed in their coup for apparatchik seats of perpetual power.
If ever proportional representation becomes the system for choosing government in BC I hope at least, at the very minimum , that any appointed list candidate seats from the parties are limited to a single term per individual appointed by a party to a seat in the legislature… and not have these seats go to career partisans.
First Past the Post needs to be gotten rid of in a proper fashion as soon as possible IMO.
If not the ndp and green coalition will succeed in stealing our local MLA’s to fuel their perpetual seat allocations and minority governments for the likely future.
The arguments against FPTP are what fuel the proportional representation arguments. The idea a candidate with a minority of the vote can win the seat.
If we could implement a more just selection process for our local MLA’s (Ranked Ballots) that retains local representation and ensures a majority of community support with clear possibilities for independents as second choice consensus candidates, and no requirement for gerrymandering when consolidating ridings… then the need for further meddling with the political election process would disappear as a front burner issue. IMHO
It’s times like these that I want to split the province in two. Right about Hope. I get sick of the fact that this side of Hope makes the majority of the money for the Province while reaping little of the returns. We could make Fort St. James the new capital just like it was under the HBC. A good dose of reality might be what the politicians need to bring them to their senses.
Hate to tell you, but for a while now, the real estate sector has eclipsed natural resources as the economic driver of the province. And we all know where that is happening.
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