The North the Loser in Green-Backed NDP Government – Pat Bell
Prince George, B.C. – Former BC Liberal cabinet minister and three-term Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Pat Bell says the North stands to be the big loser if a BC Green-backed NDP government comes to fruition.
Earlier today NDP Leader John Horgan and BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver announced they’ve reached an historic agreement making an NDP government one step closer to reality.
(All that stands in their way now is support from B.C.’s Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon).
“Well, in the 1991 to 2001 period when the NDP were in government the North lost in a significant way and I think that’s why you’ve seen northern seats going to the free-enterprise party,” he tells 250News.
“The free-enterprise party gets the issues around economic activity. That’s what people care about in the North so they’re aligned with the BC Liberals. I think it’s very concerning that our region has virtually no government representation and that will be a big issue in terms of us trying to advance the agenda for the North. And I think it will be very difficult to hold the NDP accountable.”
He adds Weaver is mistaken if he thinks a Green-backed NDP government will bring stable minority government.
“I think Andrew Weaver is being naïve if he believes that there will be certainty and that this will be a four-year government,” says Bell. “Forty-four seats to 43 seats – someone is going to get sick, someone is not going to be in the House when a vote is called and I am certain that that will occur on a regular basis.”
In fact, he predicts the government won’t even last two years.
“Perhaps a year, perhaps shorter, maybe a little longer, but I think this will be a relatively short-term government and then we’ll go back to the polls and the public will have an opportunity to vote based on what they’ve seen.”
Bell says it was “a coin toss” as to which party Weaver was going to support and feels he would have been far better off aligning himself with the BC Liberals.
“For one he is more of a fiscal conservative. Certainly, he’s not going to like the approach the NDP is going to take to spending and to reducing economic activity,” he says.
“The other thing is I think he will get lost in the NDP. With their policies, he will find it very difficult to distinguish himself. Had he aligned with the BC Liberals it would have been much easier for him to have distinguished himself and say I was able to cause the carbon tax to go up or I was able to drive climate change.”
As for who will become speaker of the legislature in a House divided by just one seat (44-43), Bell says the position is selected by secret ballot though he feels it’s likely the NDP will try to nominate a Liberal for the position.
“My advice to them would be not a chance and force the NDP to have their own speaker. They can by law though bring in a speaker from outside the House though I think that would be really undemocratic.”
And despite the likely change in government, he says it’s a tad early to argue Christy Clark will be out as Liberal leader should her party be confined to the opposition benches.
“Christy Clark is a fighter. I think she is the right person to lead an opposition if that’s what ends up happening here. I would certainly be supportive of seeing her staying on,” says Bell.
“There undoubtedly be those who claim it’s all her fault and I’m sure she’ll accept some of the responsibility but at this point I’d say it’s premature to look at a leadership change.”