The power of independence

The last day before the legislature broke for spring break a cabinet minister was forced to resign his seat due to misconduct.

The last day before the legislature broke for spring break a cabinet minister was forced to resign his seat due to misconduct. The first day back after the break a former cabinet minister resigned from the Liberal caucus, claiming the Liberal Party has lost its integrity. It’s not a fun time for the Liberal “brand” in B.C.

John van Dongen’s departure from the Liberal Party and caucus has once again profiled the unhealthy nature of party discipline and the demands placed on party MLAs to put the interests of their political brand over those of their constituents or the province as a whole. In this case, MLA van Dongen’s departure from the Liberal caucus has allowed him to raise publicly the questions he was raising privately (for some time) within his caucus: questions about the premier’s involvement in the sale of BC Rail and why the Liberal Party had taxpayers foot the bill for Basi and Virk’s defence during the B.C. Rail trial.

MLA van Dongen’s new status as an Independent has also raised questions about the effectiveness of Independents in the Legislature (despite the fact that van Dongen stated he is now a BC Conservative, he will sit as an Independent until the next election), which has given Vicki Huntington and me an opportunity to speak to this issue and argue for more Independents as one of the ways we can improve our democracy.

As MLA van Dongen will soon find out, being an Independent will give him many more opportunities to speak in the legislature than he experienced as a government member. He will also have the freedom to speak his mind on issues that matter to his constituents and on public policy issues that matter to him and British Columbians.

There is power in being an Independent MLA; a power comes from being unfettered from the partisanship and power politics that permeates the party system.

Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Avalanche Canada has issued a special avalanche warning for the Cariboo Mountains effective through the weekend. (Wes Gregg photo)
The city of Williams Lake has received provincial funding for a proposed boardwalk connecting the RC Cotton Trail to the River Valley Recreational Trail. (City of Williams Lake rough visualization of the proposal)
$550,000 provincial funding announced for Williams Lake boardwalk trail

The boardwalk will connect the new RC Cotton Trail to the river valley

100 Mile RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen. (Patrick Davies photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
100 Mile RCMP investigate theft at airport hangar, 88 other incidents

Incident is one of 89 calls attended by police from Feb. 17 to 23.

Williams Lake city council is interested in acquiring the former Poplar Glade School property on Eleventh Avenue. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake city council sets sights on two former school properties

School District said there is a five-step process for property disposal

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Bryan Adams with his mom, Jane Adams Clark, at Lions Gate Hospital. (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams gives shout out to North Shore hospital

The singer’s mom was in Lions Gate Hospital for care

Shoppers will be able to get their hands on signed bottles of Ryan Reynolds’ new gin at B.C. liquor stores this summer. (Twitter/Ryan Reynolds)
Ryan Reynold’s Aviation Gin autographed and coming to B.C. stores

This summer 100 bottles will be available to the public for purchase across five B.C. liquor stores

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

Most Read