The resignation of high profile cabinet ministers from Premier Christy Clark’s government can be read many ways. Is it an indication of a lack of support for the premier within her caucus and cabinet? Are these individuals making their decisions based on multiple polls indicating the BC Liberal brand is broken and likely facing obliteration in next May’s election?
Or do we take the resigning cabinet ministers and MLAs at their word? That they have other plans, want to spend more time with their families, or are simply done with politics?
Having so many Liberal MLAs and cabinet ministers resign increases the likelihood that we won’t have a fall session of the legislature. It would be foolhardy for the premier to subject herself to Opposition claims that these resignations signal “rats abandoning a sinking ship” while subjecting her newly appointed Cabinet to the daily scrutiny of question period.
Finance Minister Kevin Falcon’s resignation signals trouble for the premier in the business community and undermines her ability to table a balanced budget in advance of the May 2013 election. Not tabling a balanced budget will be viewed as yet another “broken promise,” and maybe that’s what Mr. Falcon was avoiding with his resignation.
During his resignation announcement, Education Minister George Abbott gave an interesting insight into the state of politics in B.C. Mr. Abbott claimed he wanted to switch his focus away from politics to concentrate on “public policy,” particularly education policy. This is a telling statement. As the minister of education, Mr. Abbott was supposed to be fully in charge of all public policy related to the K-12 system in this province, but the pre-eminence of the premier’s office undermines the ability of ministers to truly affect public policy in their area of responsibility. Mr. Abbott’s statement should trouble us all. We need to get back to having cabinet govern the province; better yet, we need reforms that will enable all MLAs to be involved in governing between elections.
Maybe that would help us attract and retain more capable people in B.C. politics.
Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.