Opinion Column

Keep political power-sharing out in the open

By Ada Slivinski, 24 Hours Vancouver

B.C. Premier Christy Clark. (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark. (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)

Earlier this week, Christy Clark announced she will call back the House and force a confidence vote that will very likely lose.

With the Greens and NDP having signed a power-sharing agreement, the province is likely getting a government nobody voted for.

Andrew Weaver said it was "A decision we felt was in the best interest of B.C. today.” But the province just voted for what they thought was in the best interest of B.C. and it sure wasn’t this.

When asked why she’s staying on – and why she wouldn't just give up and resign - Clark talked about the importance of a transfer of power happening out in the open and not behind closed doors.

Who holds the province’s biggest job is something voters should decide.

Imagine if leadership conventions worked this way. If instead of Andrew Sheer being crowned the leader of the Federal Conservatives, Maxime Bernier and Erin O’Toole announced they would pool their votes and work together.

There’s a reason this isn’t allowed in leadership conventions: it’s undemocratic to assume that a vote for one person can automatically be transferred to another. Even though Kevin O’Leary dropped out of the race before the Conservative convention and asked his supporters to back Maxime Bernier, they had the choice whether they wanted to do so or not.

With B.C.’s new Green/NDP power-sharing agreement, those who voted Green have in many ways been sold out. As Clark’s former press secretary Samuel Oliphant pointed out in a National Post opinion piece, “since Weaver’s been clear that he won’t defeat a potential NDP government for four years, he’ll be stuck supporting their decisions on all the major items.”

Clark’s decision to come back and face the House and let her government fall could not have been an easy one. When she faced the media on Tuesday, Clark's eyes were glistening and she looked like she was choking back tears.

She is, however, doing the honourable thing. On May 9, voters chose Clark to lead the province through the next four years. Even with the NDP and Greens ganging up on her, Clark still is the leader with majority support.

She should go into the House with her head held high. What those criticizing her decision fail to think about is the game could still change, with 43 seats in the House to the NDP and Greens combined 44, Horgan would do well not to get too cocky.

British Columbians voted for stability and what they now have is uncertainty and backroom deals. Horgan may become Premier, but by following the democratic process, Clark’s the one who will come out on top in terms of public opinion.