I’m very excited about the happenings in B.C. Politics. If you haven’t been following, you should know that going into the 2017 provincial election BC Greens had only a single sitting Member of the Legislative Assembly. An MLA is the equivalent to an Ontario MPP. Climate scientist Andrew Weaver was the very first Canadian Green elected provincially, and now, after this year’s election, he’s been joined by 2 more BC MLAs. Although Christy Clark’s Liberals won a plurality of seats, they did not have enough seats to form a majority government.
After the BC Greens worked out a historic agreement with the NDP, Ms. Clark spent weeks trying to figure out a way to retain the power the BC Liberals have enjoyed for 16 years. In spite of the stalling tactics, finally there was a Confidence Motion this week, and yesterday (Thursday June 29th) BC’s Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon asked BC NDP Leader John Horgan to form government.
“After seven long weeks, I am delighted that British Columbians will finally have a new government,” Weaver said. “When we launched our election campaign, we promised to do politics differently. Our Confidence and Supply Agreement lays the groundwork for a new kind of collaborative, productive parliament.
“The B.C. Green caucus will provide stability for this new minority government by supporting confidence and supply measures. We have also agreed to collaborate on a wide range of policies that are supported by a majority of British Columbians. As an opposition caucus, we will collaborate with our colleagues on both sides of the house to advance good public policy that will put the interests of British Columbians first, as well as hold the government to account for their decisions and actions.
“On May 9, British Columbians sent us a strong signal that they want us to work together – no party was given a majority of seats and 100% of the power. I am encouraged that the leaders of both other parties have acknowledged this.”
— Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green caucus, June 29, 2017
Although some people have characterized it as such, BC’s new NDP minority government will not actually be a coalition. The BC NDP will form a government supported by the BC Greens according to the terms of the 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement between the BC Green Caucus and the BC New Democrat Caucus. Some of the highlights follow.
Both the BC New Democrats and the BC Greens campaigned for a government that put people
at the centre of their decision-making.Our policy proposals included many points of
- Making democracy work for people
- Creating jobs, acting on climate change, and building a sustainable economy that works
- Fixing the services people count on
- Making life more affordable for people
This agreement sets out a new relationship between the two parties, founded on the principle
of “good faith and no surprises”.
Both parties agree that the legislature works best when all MLAs are able to put forward good
ideas – and come together – to support those that advance the public good.
The agreement is comprehensive, as it is designed to ensure stable government for the entire four year term. One crucial element is extending party status to the BC Greens, so they can “fulfill the responsibilities that will be required of them, the BC Green MLAs require access to legislative tools that are only available to recognized political parties and sufficient support staff.”
A foundational piece of this relationship is that both caucuses support the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to-action and the Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court decision. We will ensure the new government reviews policies, programs and legislation to determine how to bring the principles of the Declaration into action in BC.
- Both the BC New Democrat Government and the BC Green Caucus are committed to proportional representation. Legislation will be introduced in the 1st sitting of the next session of the BC Legislative Assembly with a BC New Democrat Government establishing that:
- A referendum on proportional representation will take place in the fall of 2018, concurrent with the next municipal election; and
- The form of proportional representation approved in the referendum will be enacted for the next provincial election.
- The parties agree that they will work together in good faith to consult British Columbians to determine the form of proportional representation that will be put to
- The parties agree to both campaign actively in support of the agreed-upon form of
Additionally the NDP and Greens are agreed on increasing the effectiveness of the carbon tax by increasing the amount and delivering carbon rebates to BC residents to ensure they are better off under the new regime.
The Site C Dam project will be subjected to the economic viability and consequences study that ought to have been done in the first place. Here in Ontario the same should be done before our Provincial Liberals go ahead with the nuclear
They’ll also “Immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the seven-fold increase in tanker traffic on our coast, and the transportation of raw bitumen through our province.”
Here in Ontario our Liberal Premier is making much of her plan to raise the minimum wage incrementally to fifteen dollars an hour. But the problem is this is a change so long overdue that for many (if not most) Ontarians $15 is not a living wage today, and by the time we actually get there, it will be even more inadequate. Which is why I thoroughly support this:
Immediately establish an at-arm’s-length Fair Wages Commission that will be tasked with establishing a pathway to a minimum wage of at least $15 per hour and overseeing regular rate reviews. The commission will bring forward recommendations regarding strategies to address the discrepancy between minimum wages and livable wages. The commission will make its first report on a new minimum wage within 90 days of its first meeting.
The new government seeks to work in concert with the other levels of government to improve transit and transportation financing and infrastructure.
There are also ambitious plans for promoting and protecting healthcare and education, with a much needed emphasis on front line delivery of necessary services.
All I can say is WOW.
Although we extend our congratulations to the BC NDP and Greens, if this lot of politicians can effect even half of this agenda, the biggest winners in are unquestionably the citizens of British Columbia. What a lovely gift to mark Canada’s 150th Anniversary.
You can download the entire 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement between the BC Green Caucus and the BC New Democrat Caucus here.