BC NDP majority less collaborative, accountable and transparent

Jan 30, 2021 | Blog, Governance, Well-being | 3 comments

There was a time not too long ago when Premier John Horgan and the BC NDP government were more collaborative, more inclusive, more accountable, and more transparent.

Through the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic all three political parties were involved in informing decisions. The BC NDP worked closely with the BC Green Caucus, maintaining the minority government through the Confidence and Supply Agreement. However, when the virus hit the BC NDP also worked more closely with the BC Liberal Official Opposition.

All that cooperation has been set aside. The information has stopped flowing and the government no longer seeks the advice of their opposition colleagues. When all the political parties were part of the decision-making process, receiving regular briefings and offering advice, we were active participants and navigating these incredible challenges together. Throughout the Spring and Summer of 2020 there was a powerful unity amongst the MLAs.

Premier Horgan built his election pitch on the need for the BC NDP to have a majority government. He got his wish and unfortunately in the weeks after the Fall election he has been disconnecting and losing touch with the people. That was on full display this past week.

British Columbians are struggling to make it through the most difficult year in decades – we are exhausted. So, there was little surprise with the exasperation from the public when Dr. Bonnie Henry asked us “to do more.”

The government’s reaction to hastily call a presser for the Premier so he can repeat the message is bewildering. “I want British Columbians to reflect on how much they have sacrificed over the past 12 months and ask ya to dig down a little bit deeper, find that extra gear to get through the next number of weeks and months,” said Horgan.

Are the BC NDP strategists so disengaged that they felt that what British Columbians needed was Coach Horgan to call the team together to give us all a pep talk? Pick up your socks, this is a sixty-minute game, and you are only giving 100 of the 110% ya got! Now, get out there and give your full effort!

I think the reaction from former BC NDP Premier Ujjal Dosanjh summed up what many of us are thinking – the public needs to see the government also doing its part.

“A government that’s asking people to do more must itself do more in the areas where it can — and it isn’t,” Dosanjh said.

Most of us are giving it everything we have. When we see our Premier in a presser asking us to dig down a little deeper and give more, then suggest we cannot follow Manitoba’s lead by requiring a 14-day quarantine for people coming from other provinces because Manitoba only has four roads in and out, it shows us that our Coach has some work to dig deeper too.

We have reflected on our sacrifices. We are vulnerable and struggling with the consequences of the pandemic. As Dr. Scott Lear from Simon Fraser University pointed out in a letter to government this week, there is so much more Premier Horgan and his government can do.

Dr. Lear highlighted four points specifically – increase testing, implement a contact tracing application, rapid testing in care homes and high-risk workplaces and support a mask mandate in schools that want it. The BC NDP dragging its feet on testing makes absolutely no sense. Do they believe they will make better decisions with less information?

With the election the BC NDP sacrificed the well-functioning minority government that was lauded for its successful collaborative effort through the first wave.

Now they have a majority government they have stopped communicating and collaborating with the opposition. Our advice is no longer wanted. The BC NDP have made it clear that as far as elected officials are concerned, we are not all in this together.

I encourage the BC NDP government to stop acting like only NDP MLAs are needed to navigate this pandemic and return to the more conciliatory, collaborative approach that gave British Columbians the confidence during the election. The government we have today is a long way from the government that collectively navigated the first wave of the pandemic.


Image by Simaah from Pixabay

3 Comments

  1. John Wittmayer

    The ecocide in this Province that Horgan is pursuing is absolutely unacceptable. He has constructed a web of lies around himself and his Party. The economic catastrophe that is the Site C dam is his doing, and his finger pointing at the BC Liberals shows his lack of honest, responsible leadership in the matter. His support of the LNG industry, fracking activities and its harmful effects, his hypocrisy concerning TMX and his never used ‘tools in the tool box’, his condoning of wildlife habitat and destruction of our old growth forests, his treatment of Indigenous people and his lies about his involvement regarding the RCMP stormtroopers who terrorized peaceful land protectors, his secrecy and lack of transparency, and his smug autocratic decision to renege on the Supply and Confidence with the Green Party…has all caught up with him. I think he should step down.

    Reply
  2. Chris Eve

    I may be wrong but the question you and Sonia should be asking yourselves is “what is your responsibility for this situation?” There was an election and you lost. But it seems to me you have not stopped fighting it. Increasingly you impute motives and that is fatal to relationship building. Respect is a two-way street.
    BC will be a better place if you two succeed but the way you are going you will be remembered as an opposition party like all the others, which is not what you promised. So what are you going to do about it? Maybe the choice is between continuing the piss and vinegar (which is not getting you anywhere) or being the change you want to see.

    Reply
  3. Keith Liggett

    In March of 2020, the Board of the RD of the East Kooteany unanimously voted to send a letter to the provincial government asking that they close the border with Alberta. Now almost a year later, in Fernie, we are in the midst of a community outbreak directly the result of Alberta skiers ignoring the non-essential travel guideline and skiing here over the last month. Every day they add another 10 or 15 cases to the ‘Official” numbers. Dr. Ron Clark, Chief of Staff at the Hospital held a zoom presentation sponsored by the CofC two weeks ago stating that currently one out of five tests were coming back positive. Interior Health immediately put out a press release saying his numbers were wrong. Positive cases were 10-12%. Then, it came out, IH only counts local residents in their numbers and Dr. Clark was right at 20% when you include the seasonal residents (who are counted in the home LHA’s). A week later, IH declared Fernie a Community Outbreak.

    To recover the lost trust in the Provincial Health systems, there needs to be more than unenforceable ‘guidelines.’ At the very least, the two week quarantine for non-essential travel should be imposed.

    Last, to put this in perspective, Teck coal has over 4,000 employees in their four open pit mines in the valley and over 1,000 contract workers. On Dec. 21, their active Covid cases (employee and contract worker) sat at 37. Five weeks later, the number of active cases was four. They adhered to the guidelines and stomped Covid. In that same time, Fernie (with the “support” of the City of Fernie, Tourism Fernie and Fernie Alpine Resort) went from single digits to triple digits and being declared a Community Outbreak.

    Go figure.

    We need enforceable hard guidelines and need them now.

    Reply

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