Opinion Column

Flip-flops make all B.C. parties look alike

By Ada Slivinski, 24 Hours Vancouver

(From Left) B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver and NDP Leader John Horgan pose before the televised leaders debate on April 26, 2017. (B.C. Broadcast Consortium/Supplied)

(From Left) B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver and NDP Leader John Horgan pose before the televised leaders debate on April 26, 2017. (B.C. Broadcast Consortium/Supplied)

Summer is the time to loosen up, relax. It’s barbecue and flip-flop season and boy have we seen some big political flip-flops this year.

Last week, it looked like Christy Clark was going to go out with her head held high. Now, a “platform relaunch” has her stumbling backwards over principles and throwing money around like candy at a parade.

After years of saying increases to welfare rates and child-care subsidies were not the right investment, Clark has now pledged $1 billion for 60,000 new child-care spaces (on top of the 13,000 her party already promised) offered full subsidizes for families making under $60,000 and partial subsidizes for those making under $100,000. She has also promised to increase welfare rates by $100.

Usually, we see these kinds of lofty promises before an election, with politicians backtracking once they actually have to deliver but this year, it seems anything goes. Clark’s flip-flops in this “platform relaunch” may be the most obvious but she’s certainly not the first.

When B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver signed a deal with the NDP’s John Horgan that would have him propping up the NDP and supporting them on all matters of confidence, he seemed to forget all his campaign criticism on Horgan. Just how much Weaver will actually be willing to compromise remains to be seen. The NDP has also promised to align its goals, especially on energy issues, with that of the Greens.

The summer heat seems to have gotten to everyone’s head. They seem to have forgotten that, by the end of this week, someone will actually have to govern and be held to their promises.

If the Liberals fall and the NDP are able to form government with the Greens' support, it will only be by the slimmest margin: together, the two parties have 44 seats in the legislature to the Liberals’ 43 seats. If they offer a Speaker from their ranks, they sit at a tie, with the Speaker’s vote breaking any ties.

Yet, oddly what we’re looking at now, is three parties who are beginning to look more and more alike.

This intense and exciting political situation is exactly the time to stick to principles, not to throw them to the wind while chasing the cheap thrill of power. Because, at the end of the summer, we’ll have to change into more sensible shoes and it will be tough to be taken seriously when all British Columbians remember are those summer flip-flops.