Motion on Throne Speech could topple government this week

Horgan and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver have accused Clark and the Liberals of trying to cling to power by delaying recalling the legislature and introducing last-minute legislation this week that they say is a ploy to hold up a no-confidence vote.

Finance Minister and Liberal House Leader Mike de Jong, who introduced the proposed donation ban bill, denied Monday that the move was a delay tactic to stave off the impending confidence vote. In Thursday's throne speech, the Liberals promised to not only ban corporate and union donations, but also impose a limit for individuals, ban foreign donations and donations from other provincial or federal parties, ban loans from anyone other than a bank or credit union, and apply the reforms to municipal elections as well.

The NDP and Greens, which together have only one seat more than the Liberals in the legislature, have teamed up to form a government. De Jong had said, regardless, the Liberals would commit to facing a confidence vote Thursday.

"The road to stability is not to defeat the throne speech and to risk an election", she warned.

In a sign of disdain, the NDP and Greens offered only one MLA each to debate the Liberal throne speech, refusing to participate otherwise. But he insisted his main objective in seeking clarity is to help the 27 new MLAs understand the rules and precedent that govern the legislature during hard times.

The opposition parties are refusing to even read new legislation, and the governing Liberals have been unwilling to expedite a confidence vote.

"This is a parliamentary democracy, and if at the end of the day there is to be a transition, if the two opposition parties, as they have and appear resolved to do, wish to govern and the lieutenant-governor agrees that it is in the best interest of the province, that's fine".

The long-time NDP member tried to deliver the final blow to Premier Christy Clark's government.

In an attempt to stave off defeat, the Liberals delivered a throne speech last week that borrowed heavily from the NDP and Green campaign platforms by promising, among other things, to hike welfare rates, develop a poverty-reduction strategy and tie disability assistance rates to inflation.

Another bill, which would have extended official party status to the three B.C. Green MLAs, was also voted down, sight unseen, by the combined opposition parties. "It's a lost opportunity and apparently it means the NDP is looking forward to an unstable government under their leadership and they want the campaign financing rules to be the old rules".

Of course, the Liberals shut down those six NDP motions to ban corporate and union donations, only to have a sudden change of heart on the matter after an election that leaves them on the brink of defeat.

Christy Clark has set the bar high in promising less partisan, more collaborative, more compassionate government.

  • Rogelio Becker