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If the B.C. NDP wants to win next election, it should get ready to Leap

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I have a question or two for NDP leader John Horgan, given recent developments.

Let me be clear: I have no animosity towards Mr. Horgan -- we only met once and just by accident. At that time, several years ago, Mr. Horgan stated that he favoured LNG because "the NDP couldn't be against everything." This illogical nonsense guides him still.

Still searching

I'm doing as many British Columbians are doing -- looking for someone to support in 2017.

I certainly can't vote for the incompetent, destructive, featherbrain in power; I thought I had a home with the Greens until I learned that their leader supports the Liberals' IPPs policy, which destroys rivers and is bankrupting BC Hydro, so I had reconciled myself to the notion that this old Socred could vote NDP...but they lost me by uncritically supporting LNG and by the obvious political naiveté of its leader.

Mr. Horgan, how could you get this far and not understand basic politics?

Christy Clark stated, not long ago, that she represents the majority of British Columbians, or words to that effect. The incredible fact is that she does Mr. Horgan, but that's not because of her, it's because of you, sir.

Christy Clark, up against a reasonably presentable fence-post with hair, wouldn't have a chance but you've managed to split your supporters and so alienate the great number of people who would have supported you to avoid the Liberals, that you and your party will probably lose to this quintessence of incompetence.

Any winning leader must keep his supporters onside while not alienating too many "floaters" who have no party allegiance. This is fundamental -- axiom one for every party. Your party should have learned that from the many decades the old Socreds thrashed you regularly.

But you've scared the hell out of people. While it's expected that an NDP leader will be concerned about labour unions, when he becomes so obsequious as to all but genuflect in public and before a union leader to apologize for changing party policy without his consent, it's just too much, even, I suggest, for many members of unions.

Why not take the Leap?

What I would really like to ask you today, Mr. Horgan, is why you have not seen the obvious way out of your difficulty -- the Leap Manifesto?

Typical of the NDP, they cosseted the far left with the word "Manifesto" pissing off a lot of people they didn't need to. But that's minor. I've read the document with care -- have you? It offers a reasonable blueprint for getting us all out of the difficulty posed by the coming demise of the fossil fuel industry.

But you would have no part of it, saying:

It's a document that I don't embrace personally. There are elements in the document that make sense and there are elements that make no sense for British Columbia. So we won't proceed under any kind of manifesto in the next 12 months under my leadership.

Can you not be more specific? Of course parts will annoy unions dependant on the fossil fuel industry but it's just a discussion document and if you were to encourage the widest possible debate, it could turn out to be a brilliant political maneuver. Yes, you'd  have a harder time from some disgruntled supporters but you'd get support outside the party and the party generally would come along because they want to win and they've  nowhere else to go.

Moreover, have you considered how much the public think of Naomi Klein, and indeed the Lewis family? And David Suzuki?  More than they do of you, Mr Horgan. Is it good politics to stand against them just to stay in favour with one or two union leaders?

Bucking history

Here are the parts that I presume are the sticking points which make you say this document is not appropriate for British Columbia, being a resource-based province:

Shifting swiftly away from fossil fuels so that Canada gets 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable resources within 20 years and is entirely weaned off fossil fuels by 2050.

No new infrastructure projects aimed at increasing extraction of non-renewable resources, including pipelines.

Here's where your opposition is fatal. It's a year before the election and opposition to fossil rules won't lessen. More scientific evidence will likely be adverse. And this puts you and those of the NDP who support you out of sync with history. No politician can buck history for long and survive.

Can you not comprehend that the world is against you on this, including a great many traditional supporters of the New Democratic Party? If you had political savvy and vision, you would support Leap and work with union leaders and, indeed, with community leaders generally. The Leap Manifesto proposes that we wean ourselves off fossil fuels and ease the hardship that will impose on the many employed by the industry. What could be wrong with that, especially if it was a non-partisan, community effort?

No one expects that we'll be off fossil fuels tomorrow afternoon, Mr.Horgan -- the object is to avoid wasting time making adjustments, thus making matters worse. People expect that leaders will take us down that path in reasonably expeditious fashion, while making the changes as smooth as humanly possible for those impacted by them.

No point pretending

There is no point in pretending that the move away from fossil fuels isn't going to happen and happen pretty quickly. The leader, the statesman, recognizes that the best policy is to control events and not be controlled by them while the demagogue tries to avoid reality for short-term advantage.

The most important consideration of all, Mr. Horgan, is that bringing united public support for a commitment to as quick an end to our reliance on fossil fuels, while caring for those hurt by the inevitable, dramatic changes, is the right thing to do.

It's astonishing that the NDP will likely appeal less to the average voter than will premier Clark, considering her breathtaking incompetence, the massive debts that she's run up, the bankrupting of BC Hydro, the destruction of our rivers, the wreckage and folly that is Site C, not to mention the embarrassment she's brought herself and us over LNG.

You've abandoned the high ground of saving the environment, leading the province carefully and thoughtfully through the perils but likely have given the polluters the chance to escape unscathed and another four years to make it infinitely worse, while driving us deeper and deeper in debt.

Not your fault Mr. Horgan?

Then just whose fault is it, pray tell?

This article oringinally appeared on The Common Sense Canadian.

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