BC NDP Changes Approach

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BC NDP Changes Approach

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Horgan and the NDP are changing their approach. Previously, some NDP MLAs, such as Doug Routley, had been attacking Green leader Andrew Weaver repeatedly. Now, with the NDP House Leader Mike Farnsworth shutting down Routley's attacks and Horgan agreeing with some of Weaver's proposals, the party has obviously taken a different tack. Both are now advocating proportional representation, expressing concern over the regressive medicare premiums, and aligning with Independent Vicki Huntingdon in demanding release of the provincial report on fracking, which they believe has been held back for six months now because of health-related concerns in the report. 

This approach is almost certainly strategic as Vaughn Palmer outlines in the following article. 

While Horgan's comment that the Greens have little support in then natural resource BC Interior is largely true, the strong environmental movement in the Kootenays is an exception to this generalization and polls suggest Green Party support has risen to the mid-teens in Metro Vancouver and is very strong in southern Vancouver Island.


... Opposition leader John Horgan is starting to lay out the planks for the New Democratic Party platform in the next campaign. One of his (Horgan's) first ideas would herald a major change in B.C., by shifting the province to a system where the number of seats that a party wins in the legislature would be proportional to its share of the total votes cast in an election.

Given that B.C. parties hardly ever win as much as 50 per cent of the popular vote, the outcome would more often than not be power-sharing in the legislature via minority or coalition governments.

“Well and I’m OK with that,” said Horgan when I raised the power-sharing implications in a recent interview. “The reason that I’m comfortable with it is that the NDP is a coalition party. When Mike Harcourt was successful in 1991, it was bringing together environmental voters, blue collar workers, academics, theologians — the broad base that is the NDP and has always been since the 1930s.” ...

He’s come to share the frustrations of many voters with the winner-take-all outcomes of the first-past-the-post system of electing governments. ...

“Too many people feel that their vote doesn’t count because minority parties continue to form majority governments, whether it be the federal Conservatives, whether it be the BC Liberals. They got well less than 50 per cent of the vote, yet they have all of the power,”...

The nuts and bolts of the shift he would leave to after the 2017 election. Presuming the NDP were to win, then a Premier Horgan would initiate a public consultation on options for proportional representation, followed by a midterm referendum on the preferred system.

If approved, the new system would be put in place for the election in 2021. Granted, then, that Horgan’s call for proportional representation is doubly “iffy,” needing as it does an NDP win in 2017, then a “yes” vote in a referendum in 2019 thereabouts. Still his willingness to share power with other parties may serve a political purpose in the interim.

The Green party has long supported proportional representation. Horgan’s shift to supporting it as well is one of several signs he is seeking a more constructive relationship with the Greens and their supporters. Horgan in the interview all but endorsed Green MLA Andrew Weaver’s call for the government to rein in soaring premiums for the medical services plan.

“I have a similar concern about MSP premiums,” he said. “They’re regressive. So I believe that Andrew and I are on the same page. I think most British Columbians recognize that we’re the only province that has medical services premiums. And it’s perhaps time that we fund our health services, as other jurisdictions do, through general revenue.”

He fully endorsed the call from Weaver’s sometime ally, Independent MLA Vicki Huntington, for the Liberals to release a report they’ve been sitting on for six months on the health effects of oil and gas development in northeastern B.C. “I absolutely support Vicki’s work in this regard,” said Horgan. “When it comes to hydraulic fracturing, when it comes to sour gas leaks, the whole range of potential lethal activity within the gas industry, government has to go beyond regular regulation and accountability to make sure that the public has a level of comfort that is as high as it possibly can be. When you sit on a report for six months, that doesn’t build confidence, that builds fear.”

The New Democrats have lately toned down their attacks on the Greens, after that embarrassing exchange on social media in January when MLA Doug Routley and Horgan’s chief of staff John Heaney discussed slinging a “mudline” at Weaver. When Routley resumed sniping at Weaver on the floor of the legislature last week, NDP house leader Mike Farnworth personally intervened to put a stop to it.

Horgan, for his part, is promoting a more realistic view of the threat that the Greens pose to NDP support, suggesting it is confined to a handful of ridings, mostly in the capital region.

“When you get outside of the South Island, the Green vote is very, very flat,” he maintains. “Five, six, seven per cent at best in communities in the Lower Mainland. Virtually nothing when you get out into the hinterland where resource development is what keeps communities vibrant.”

Combine that perspective with his stance on proportional representation, MSP premiums and fracking and one glimpses the makings of a tacit pitch to potential green supporters in the next election: Vote Green, if you must, in the few ridings where the party might win; vote NDP everywhere else, lest you again end up with the Liberals.





A) The BCNDP screwed up big time by getting Horgan as their leader. He was involved with the 90's NDP and the corporate media in BC will make sure to remind voters of that like they did with Dix.  The NDP should of gone with a fresh face that had no ties to the 90's NDP governments.   personally i do not think the 90's NDP were any worse than any other government but the anti NDP media in BC kept telling the lie long enough until it became the truth for many.


B)  there is no split on the right. The libs KO'ed the conservatives last time just in time to unify the right vote.  The only times the NDP 'won' in BC is when there has been a split.


C) They need to dump all backroom 'boys' like Sihota, Tieleman etc  that have been involved with the 90's government.  They really need to clean house.


Malcontent wrote:
The BCNDP screwed up big time by getting Horgan as their leader.

What choice did the BCNDP have when Horgan was the only person who stepped forward?


Aristotleded24 wrote:

Malcontent wrote:
The BCNDP screwed up big time by getting Horgan as their leader.

What choice did the BCNDP have when Horgan was the only person who stepped forward?

Farnworth ran, but withdrew. Of course, he was even mor einvolved in the 1990s government than Horgan.


Maybe whoever loses the nomination in Vancouver East can go for the BC NDP leadership. 

Jacob Two-Two

NorthReport wrote:

Maybe whoever loses the nomination in Vancouver East can go for the BC NDP leadership. 

There could be no greater indictment of the party than this. :)


I don't get the hate for Horgan and his approach. The BCNDP lost in 2013 because they didn't win rural, working-class seats like Fraser-Nicola, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, Chilliwack-Hope; or suburban seats like Delta North, Burnaby North, Port Moody-Coquitlam, Maple Ridge-Mission, and Surrey-Fleetwood.


There are only some many seats in central Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Focusing on voters in those regions at the expense of others is not a recepice for success.


The NDP appears to be climbing out of its post-election doldrums.


With the provincial election still two years away, the 2015 session of the legislature was expected to be a time of regrouping for the Opposition and minimal cares for the government.

But as is often the case in B.C. politics — see the last election for example — the train of events did not proceed down the tracks precisely as expected.

When the house adjourned for the scheduled midterm break Thursday, the New Democrats were feeling pretty good about themselves and it was the B.C. Liberals who needed to regroup on some key files.

The botch-up that was the auditor general for local government had the premier herself admitting that her pet project had come out of the oven half-baked.

“The thing is, we need to make it functional,” she confessed to reporters.” All of the options are on the table for reform to make this work.”

She had to acknowledge a second major screw-up in the government decision to recruit, then dump former cabinet minister George Abbott as chief of the treaty commission. ...

Both episodes provided a boost for NDP morale, particularly on the challenge of getting a handle on the premier’s weaknesses.

Another instructive moment in that regard occurred in the third week of the session, on a day when Opposition leader John Horgan was challenging Clark over the failure of a government-ordered review to account for those botched firings in the health ministry. ...

 When Clark got up on Feb. 26 to account for the failure to deliver on what she promised, she began this way: “If I can just preface by saying a thank-you to many members of the house who sent me a note today or stopped to say congratulations. It’s been four years since I was selected premier by my colleagues.”

The actual answer, when it came, ducked any explanation for why the government neglected to give the reviewer the necessary tools to get to the bottom of things.

For New Democrats, the telling point was Clark’s self-absorbed decision to try to deflect attention by taking a victory lap for something that happened four years previously.

As Opposition house leader Mike Farnworth tells it, that was the moment when he decided to minimize the premier’s opportunities for showboating during question period. Instead of complaining about the premier’s absences from the house, New Democrats would sometimes ignore her when she was there.

The payoff came in the fifth week of the session when Clark pre-empted one of her own ministers during question period with a telling confessional — “I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get any questions directed to me today, so I thought I would get up” — followed by an improvised answer that was mostly beside the point.

That attention-seeking display only reinforced the New Democrats in their resolve that for the most part, the premier would be called to account only when Opposition leader Horgan himself is there to lead the questioning.

He was there this week to challenge the premier over her unilateral trashing of the treaty commission, an entity created and sustained in partnership with First Nations and the federal government. ...

Thinking ahead to the next election, it will be a very different matchup from the bookish, over-confident Adrian Dix against the populist underdog Clark. This time out, both leaders are hot-button politicians and she’s no longer the underdog.

Too soon to say how it will play out. But at the halfway point of the session, the New Democrats would appear to have picked themselves up off the floor from their last defeat and are getting ready for the next round.





The BC NDP has finally figured out Christy's greatest weakness. As so often happens, it's related to her greatest strength. She is in love with her communication skills, which are considerable. However, as the above article states, she also loves to showboat them. So the strategy of ignoring her can be effective, as discussed above. It is so typical for her to jump into the discussion when questions ignore her, stealing the limelight from others on her own team.

The impact this has on her fellow Liberals is reflected in the fact that only one MLA (and a very weak one {Harry Bloy} at that who was a laughing stock as a Clark-appointed minister) supported her run for the leadership. This was a result of both a deep dislike of her tendency to step on others in order to promote herself and the fact that a media-savvy fast quip doesn't mean you have the administrative skills needed to run a ministry. She often had to be rescued from her administrative screwups in her time as a minister, something the public had forgotten thanks to her several years out of government as a radio show host. 

The role of Premier and chief campaigner is suited to her communication skills as long as she lets other be the administrators and her tendency to interfere doesn't cause problems for her own ministers. However, her tendency to shoot from the lip may ensnare her in problems that she can't talk her way out of. This certainly does not guarantee the NDP victory against her in the future but there is now a possible route to a win visible.