B.C. has been in election mode for too long. Since the introduction of the HST after the 2009 election, both political parties have simply been posturing toward the next election and little governance has taken place.
Once the new leaders of the NDP and the Liberals were chosen earlier this year, this electioneering was taken to new heights; in part, because the rumour mill had it that we’d have a general election in June rather than simply a by-election for the new premier.
I was among those thinking we’d likely have a June election and was curious why the premier didn’t take that opportunity to get her own mandate. I found out later it was largely because there were questions about the constitutionality of a non-elected premier dissolving the legislature to call an election.
However, the premier’s by-election win did not end the electioneering by both parties as demonstrated day after day in the legislature this spring. Both party leaders were all too eager to simply go at each other in advance of what the rumour mill said was going to be a fall election.
Now the mail strike appears to have squashed the premier’s plans for an early fall election by delaying the results of the HST referendum until early September. The rumour mill now has it that the earliest likely date for a general election is the fall of 2012.
If it proves to be true that we’re not going to have an election this fall and that the premier will have to bring forward her own budget next spring, then I sincerely hope both political parties will stand down and stop electioneering.
We face severe fiscal challenges. We must address the deepening poverty in B.C. We need a plan to address the challenges of an ageing population. We need an economic plan that doesn’t discount the environment and ignore First Nations’ rights.
In short, we need real governance from both parties now. If there’s no election this fall then MLAs should be enabled to do what voters believe they elected them to do: work together to govern this province.
Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.