NCLGA Questions Constitutional Impact of NDP-Green Agreement
Prince George, B.C. – The North Central Local Government Association has written a letter to the Lieutenant Governor of B.C. expressing concerns with the agreement between the NDP and Greens which would change government when the Liberals fail a confidence test.In the letter, NCLGA President Shaely Wilbur writes the agreement “fetters the discretion of individual members of both caucuses in fulfilling their constitutional roles and duties. That fettering of the independent discretion of elected representatives is contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the Canadian Constitution. Respectfully, if the Crown acts in reliance on the agreement we are concerned that the Crown could be condoning an unconstitutional scheme.”
Wilbur says the NCLGA’s principle concern is that the contract “neglects and disempowers the community-level administration of this region and the families who live and work here. We are a non-partisan association and make no distinction between political ideologies. Our goal is to simply advance the environmental, social and economic well-being of all communities in central and northern BC. Our expectation is that all provincial members from the ten “northern” ridings, regardless of party membership, have open and transparent input into any deal-making that might shift the balance of power from one set of MLAs to another. Furthermore, Mr. Horgan and Mr. Weaver have released their written contract for public consumption, but their verbal, closed-door deliberations were not conducted publically.”
She writes that while the NCLGA is not requesting a “desired outcome” rather that “Our preference is merely for open and transparent deliberations, and that all citizens of this great province have fair access to the decisions that are fundamental to the structure and direction of their government.”
The letter follows yesterday’s comments from the Association which expressed concerns over the future of the Northern ridings when Wilbur stated “Legislative change, electoral change, the cancelation of some projects and introduction of others can all have a disproportionate effect on many of our communities.” ( see previous story here).
The complete letter is printed below:
June 2, 2017
Her Honour, The Honourable Judith Guichon
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
1401 Rockland Avenue Victoria, British Columbia V8S 1V9
Dear Lieutenant Governor Guichon,
On behalf of the communities we represent, I am writing to inform Your Honour of concerns we have surrounding the recent pact amongst Opposition Members of the Legislature. The regional catchment area where our local governments operate (municipalities, First Nation communities and regional districts) accounts for eighty percent of BC’s exports, eighty percent of BC’s agricultural land, sixty percent of the Province’s indigenous population and some of the largest resource development projects in North America.
As you know, it is a vast area covering roughly two thirds of the Province and a full third of all First Nations’ traditional territories. Legally, economically, environmentally and logistically, northern BC is currently one of the most strategically important places on the continent.
Our principle concern is that the Opposition contract
Undisclosed side agreements and informal understandings are not uncommon in government. But when the informal contracts and discussions involve a major shift in governance, it leaves communities unprepared and vulnerable. As you are aware, what might seem like a small, simple shift in direction behind closed doors can have a major impact on many of our resource dependent communities.
Lastly, we are concerned that the formal, written, binding agreement between the NDP and Green Parties goes far beyond the more common, flexible understandings between MLAs and fetters the discretion of individual members of both caucuses in fulfilling their constitutional roles and duties. That fettering of the independent discretion of elected representatives is contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the Canadian Constitution. Respectfully, if the Crown acts in reliance on the agreement we are concerned that the Crown could be condoning an unconstitutional scheme.
We are not submitting to you a desired outcome. Our preference is merely for open and transparent deliberations, and that all citizens of this great province have fair access to the decisions that are fundamental to the structure and direction of their government.
North Central Local Government Association
Wondering if the same “non-partisan” letter would of been sent if the liberals had gotten their deal with the greens?
Read the story again. They are concerned that the north will not have representation in the legislature therefore they are bringing the matter to the attention of the Lieutenant Governor because they are concerned about behind closed door agreements that were made between the NDP and Greens. IF the Greens had aligned with the Liberals there would no cause for concern because we would be represented just as before and have a strong voice in Victoria. The Liberals for all intents and purposed got more seats and therefore was the party that should be the governing party if the coalition hadn’t been formed. A bad move on the part of the Greens. I voted Green, not NDP and I am pissed they aligned with them.
Ok I see what your saying . I would prefer that the mla’s had free votes in legislature and the chips fall where they may . I am not thrilled if Horgan becomes premier .
The only way they will ever get a “free vote” is if there are no parties. I would actually like to see that scenario.
As long as there are parties those elected will have to vote the way their party dictates, or probably won’t be in the party long.
So what are they suggesting be done ? Have a confidence vote . Dissolve government . Call an election . Would it be best out of two or three or five ? How much is it going to cost to satisfy the so called misrepresented ? This is why proportional representation is so needed . That way no one is not at the table . Do you get it now ?
They are suggesting any coalition terms be debated in the legislature and not be made in closed door meetings. Lots of jurisdictions have sunshine laws for matters a lot simpler than a wholesale change of government and resulting policies. Openness when elected officials form a quorum is not unusual expectations in a constitutional democracy.
The thing the greens don’t understand is that our democracy is about elected MLA’s and not the parties they represent. The MLA’s in the legislature are the ones that determine who and how our province will be governed and not party operatives from undisclosed locations.
How much the ‘misrepresented’ will cost us? Is that an underhanded disrespect for the process? Its about the process having integrity and the cost is the cost of a sitting legislature doing what it is elected to do.
And the claim that his is why proportional representation is needed is just ludicrous. This is exactly why proportional representation is such a danger to our freedom and democracy. Party operatives governing from undisclosed locations thinking they have genus over the legislature and legislative process from duly elected MLA’s.
Proportional representation is about a coup over our current Westminster legislative process with elected representatives for local representation. PR takes elected seats from rural areas to distribute to party operatives unaccountable to the electorate and only accountable to party insiders… it views the legislature as a possession of party control that they get appointments in perpetuity.
What is so needed is to respect the current Westminister system of government and the need for the ndp and the green parties to work within it by strengthening the electoral process for individual MLA’s, rather than a complete revolution of the whole system of government through manufactured minorities from unelected seats allocated not based on responsible government, but through patronage to partisan interests.
BC is a vast and diverse province and it is the local representation that binds us together in union. Take that away and rule solely by majority population from the big population concentration centers effectively obscuring our vote leaves us unrepresented and is a recipe for divisions through regional polarization at the political level as the only form of local electoral accountability.
PR nations are small, urban, ethnically homogeneous, leftist nations that are rife with manufactured identity politics fostering dog whistle divisions that masquerade as politics. PR nations don’t have the center of gravity of a middle majority to hold vast lands of differing people and cultures together as a single country.
PR in Canada will be the death of Canada as a nation with a separatist Quebec guaranteed party seats in perpetuity. As it is it is unconstitutional under our current system, but that won’t stop the green and ndp parties from pushing this gold plated retirement plan for their senior members.
PR in BC will be the death of BC as a single province as well for much the same reasons it would lead to Quebec separation from Canada if it was implemented nationally.
Those that support PR without a constitutional convention IMO are actively engaged in subversive behavior towards our democracy and freedoms. We need to call them out for what it is.
The MLA’s in the legislature are the ones that determine who and how our province will be governed and not party operatives from undisclosed locations.
The MLA’s in the legislature SHOULD BE the ones that determine who and how our province will be governed and not party operatives from undisclosed locations.
There, fixed it for you.
If you believe that “party operatives” don’t already have an influence on what happens with respect to policy, and thus what gets rubber stamped in the legislature and through other government action, I have a bridge to sell you.
NCLGA = Liberals farm team.
I went over the figures of the last 6 elections, which includes the current one.
1996 – NDP got 39 seats with the BCLibs getting 33, reform got 2 and PDA 1.
The seats required for a majority was 38, so the NDP won the election.
With a proportional seat selection, the BCLibs got 41.82% of the popular provincial vote with the NDP getting 39.34%.
If one were to select based on proportional representation based on provincial popular vote the seat would have been distributed as follows:
BCLIbs = 31 seats
NDP = 30 seats
Green = 2 seats
Reform = 7 seats
PDA = 4 seats
That is a minority government, but with several options. One would have been a right wing coalition of BCLibs with Reform = 38 seats.
2001 was a slaughter based on seats … 77 to 2 for the BCLIbs
Proportionally it was
Seats divided proportionally would then be:
BCLibs = 46
NDP = 17
Greens = 10
others = 6
40 seats required for majority, so it would have been a majority government for the BCLibs.
Proportionally divided, the governments in 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2017 would all have been minority, every single one had BCLibs with the highest popular vote, but always less than 50% and always above 40%.
So, for those who want a system which would elect seats by provincial popular vote of party percentages, be careful what you wish for.
Other countries with many parties can be successful because they form coalitions before the election and present the combined platform to the electorate.
Our system generates bad feelings among the electors since it is up to the elected to decide after the fact. It is a system which can use some saner thinking to come up with something closer to a workable solution.
Germany as well as New Zealand (I think) are two countries which have half and half representation. The voter has to make two choices … one for the local riding representative and one for the party. Both end up being selection by popular vote.
Germany and New Zealand are two small countries without the diversity of a large province like BC, much less Canada.
Proportional representation should not even be discussed outside of a constitutional convention on the matter, because it involves a complete change to the whole governing process. Our country and our constitution were not designed to facilitate a party centric legislature of unelected members holding perpetual appointment seats.
Anything less than a constitutional convention on proportional representation is nothing more than subversive behavior that threatens our very freedoms and democracy in Canada.
The fix has never been in changing our constitutional democracy in Canada to a more identity partisan structure as the left tries to sell it.
The fix is in getting a greater accountability from our elected members by ensuring they are elected by a majority of their constituents in a voting system of ranking that ensures independents are on an equal footing at the ballet as to the candidates that affiliate with political parties. The candidate with the majority wins party or no party affiliation.
Here is the New Zealand ballot wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/da/New_Zealand_MMP_voting_paper.jpg/250px-New_Zealand_MMP_voting_paper.jpg
Here is the German ballot
If we do not want to increase the number of seats in the house, we would have to have larger ridings to about 44 and 44 seats divided amongst the parties by proportion. Basically they would be seats “at large”.
Since the speaker has a tie breaking vote, the speaker could then be selected from the “at large” MLAs.
Without a constitutional convention this would be treason. The theft of half of our rural elected seats would leave us without a functioning democracy.
With half the legislature appointed by parties it would make eunuch of the legislative sovereignty and the stagnation by political entitlement from appointed members would stifle the ability for elections to make any difference in the direction of the province.
No such thing as an ‘at large’ MLA. Such an idea is unconstitutional. MLA’s are only elected to represent a riding under the Canadian constitution.
An appointed apparatchik could not be called a MLA even if they have equivalent voting power in the legislature.
BTW No term limits proposed by the green or the ndp party for their newly appointed apparatchik seats, which by some estimates would make up half of the legislature… how is that democracy? How is that an improvement for electoral accountability? How does that give more representation to people in vast swaths of the province that are disenfranchised of their vote?
It benefits only the partisan extremists that can’t get majority support for their ideas, but want a seat at the table for life.
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