Tuesday, September 04, 2012

BC Liberal levee breaks: cabinet minister, MLA departures a vote of non-confidence in Christy Clark

BC Liberal levee breaks: MLAs flowing out
And then there was one - Christy Clark wins leadership, George Abbott and Kevin Falcon lose and now leave.
UPDATE 5 p.m. : Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom, MLAs Joan McIntyre, Rob Howard pack it in too!  Now up to 13 MLAs leaving BC Liberals.

For Christy Clark, It Keeps Getting Lonelier at the Top with BC Liberal exodus is a non-confidence vote in premier's leadership, no matter the spin.

Bill Tieleman’s 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday September 4, 2012

By Bill Tieleman

Now, cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good / When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move."
- Led Zeppelin: "When The Levee Breaks" [Originally written by Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy]
The BC Liberal levee broke last week and by the end of political hurricane season many of its MLAs will be adrift, not running for re-election.
The sudden resignations of Finance Minister Kevin Falcon and Education Minister George Abbott in just 24 hours only indicates the extreme severity of the storm Premier Christy Clark faces, not its length.
The departure of Clark's two closest leadership rivals in 2011's contest is more than just a case of planned retirement -- it is a non-confidence vote in Clark, no matter how much they deny it.
Add in last week's announcement that Children and Family Development Minister Mary McNeil and Clark's Parliamentary Secretary John Les also won't run, and the running total is 10 sitting B.C. Liberal MLAs bowing out [now 12].
Expect more announcements soon from other B.C. Liberals who won't run again in the May 2013 election.
UPDATE - 10 a.m.: Tuesday morning brings news that BC Liberal MLAs Joan McIntyre and Rob Howard will not run again in 2013.  Cabinet minister Rich Coleman will run, he announced today also. 

After all, with the B.C. NDP at 45 per cent in recent polls and the B.C. Liberals at just 23 per cent with the B.C. Conservatives under leader John Cummins narrowly behind at 22 per cent, most of Clark's MLAs can expect to lose their seats barring a miracle turnaround
"I do expect there will be some more [resignations]. I have had those conversations with those people," Clark herself admitted to media last week.
And those remaining B.C. Liberals face a difficult challenge, according to Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster.
"The ship isn't sinking," Foster has said. "It's our job to make sure people know this isn't the case."
Not sinking? There's an awful lot of water on the decks.
Previous tidal waves
In the last two election tsunamis that all but wiped out the New Democrat government in 2001 and the Social Credit administration in 1991, each party had 15 sitting MLAs decline to face voters.
Odds are the BC Liberals will match or beat that total, making the unflattering comparison inevitable.
On the plus side, 24 [now 25]sitting MLAs -- including Clark -- have stated their intention to run again, based on media reports.
That leaves eight caucus members yet to announce their plans, including former finance minister Colin Hansen -- co-author of the Harmonized Sales Tax with ex-premier Gordon Campbell, current cabinet ministers Rich Coleman [now staying], Mary Polak, Blair Lekstrom, and Ida Chong and backbenchers Joan McIntyre [now not running], Randy Hawes, and Rob Howard  [now not running].
Since Clark will shuffle her cabinet this week and says only those running again will be appointed, some MLAs made their choice this past long weekend and informed the premier.
'We've got a question of leadership'
But there's more trouble than just MLA departures. Former B.C. Liberal strategist Alise Mills suggested on CBC Radio last Wednesday that Falcon's resignation indicates senior government members don't have confidence in Clark.
Alise Mills
"If George Abbott leaves tomorrow as is widely rumoured, that adds a lot of credibility on what Kevin Falcon did today and now we've got a question of leadership. We don't have a question of partisan game playing, we have a question of leadership," said Mills, a former Falcon leadership campaign supporter who is no longer a BC Liberal Party member.
"I'm not going to be popular amongst BC Liberals for saying this but I do think there was a break, a crack in ideology between the premier and the finance minister. I think one had one direction, one had another," Mills told host Stephen Quinn.
Another indication of Clark's conundrum is that Falcon publicly pledged during that contest he would run for the BC Liberals in 2013, even goading Clark when she refused to make the same promise.
"Christy, I've made a commitment to run in this election win or lose, so whether I win or lose [the leadership] I'm going to be a candidate for this party," Falcon said.
Now he's breaking that word and regardless of changed personal circumstances -- he and wife Jessica expect a second child in February -- Falcon clearly has more than family reasons for leaving.
Will right unite?
And what does the future hold for the political right? Will the BC Conservatives jump past the lackluster Liberals and become official opposition to a BC NDP government and the go-to choice for the centre right in 2017?
Will the B.C. Liberals survive to fight another day? Or will the two parties then merge as has happened before in provincial political history?
Much speculation is taking place amongst right-wing political activists and B.C. Liberal business backers, many of whom are already conceding the 2013 ballot to NDP leader Adrian Dix.
Leave the last word to Mills as to the political future after the election: "I don't think the BC Liberal Party will exist."



Anonymous said...

I turned this little nobody off a long time ago " Alise Mills " It was nauseating listening to her. So if she is no longer a Liberal groupie who has she turned to now ?
Looking forward to your answer.

Guy in Vic

Ron1 said...

A change of name will solve everything Christy. LOL

I hope my MLA, Ida Chong, runs again as the NDP's Jessica Van der Veen will do her for dinner.

Bill Tieleman said...

Anon 1:10 p.m. - Alise left the BC Liberals when she took a job awhile back that required no affiliations. She obviously remains a right-of-centre supporter.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that most of the right wing vote will just stay home. There's not much to like about the BC Conservatives. BC would be better off with an 8 seat BC Liberal Opposition with the balance NDP majority. Only person who is insane would ever want Cummins and Randy White running the Opposition show.

and Bill the analogies are laughable. Levees? Hurricanes? You must have gotten good marks for creative writing in elementary school.

As for Ida Chong, no worries there Ron. Run now to Jessica's campaign and sign up to do a 60 house canvass in a strong BC Liberal poll.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry Christy. Rich Colemen and his land developer budies will stay on and save the day!

Anonymous said...

No they won't. Too late for that.

Adrian Dix will walk in that door to the Premier's Office...

as Premier.

Nothing new there.

Anonymous said...

Ida Chong? done like dinner. Actually make that done like lunch--- as Ida thought it was fine to have $6,000 of lunches on the taxpayer's dime.

xeron said...

I wouldn't be so complacent. I don't believe for a moment that big business will sit this out. There are two major pipelines at stake along with the rape of the land to 'govern'/sell.

I bet they offer Chrunchy a way out and re-brand the label, get Cummins and the rest of the whacky right out of there, or start a new party.

Maybe a BC tea party/wild rose/ party.

Anonymous said...

Not going to happen and why do people like xeron figure all right wingers are "whacky right?"

A new party may be started but that would happen after an NDP victory.

starting a new party now would just split the vote and the result would be an NDP government anyway

A "tea party" party in BC simply wouldn't happen. It already exists as the BC Conservatives with John Cumminis as leader. It's breaking down more frequently than one of of Glen Clark's ferries

DPL said...

Quiet last couple of days as no BC Liberals are quitting to spend more time with their families

Anonymous said...

Seems the blog contributor DPL has too much time on his hands. The news about BC Liberal MLAs quitting has peaked and and has muchly ended.

Does Gary Coons quit to spend more time with his family, or is it for another reason??

Anonymous said...

And Hawes is now part of The Great Liberal Trek of 2012".
What will be even more interesting to follow will be Rich Coleman who seems to want to cast himself in the role od Great Rescuer after the Liberals' likely defeat next year and when Clark will likely have to resign. Even more intriquing is the bun fight within the Conservatives. if a leadership review were to be forced and Cummings were to be defeated, there may be votes up for grabs. Hope you will be doing a piece on this later on, Bill.A chance to unite thr Right?

Anonymous said...

Nothing new on that one. Old news.

Old news on Christy having to resign too. That happens. Barrett resigned, VanderZalm dumped out, as did Ujjal. Carole got knifed.

There wouldn't be much of a chance to "unite the right". It is fractured, many would not go to the BC Liberals because of Christy Crunch, and the same majority would have a hard time supporting Cummins' Crusaders and the God Squad.

'nuff said.

Would rather have Bill start doing pieces exploring exactly what it is the NDP is offering to the voters and what their intentions are.

Anonymous said...

Big Mess...the political right has seen the boondoggle created by the BC Libs, the conservatives are too new and in disarray.

The political fallout of the BC Liberals will be seen in the courts for years, to come. Basi-Virk, and all the other scandals. an incredible waste of taxpayer resources. Hopefully the money from all the messes can be recovered. Legislation does exist to make this doable.

The taxpayers of this province can no longer be kept on the hook for any type of government ineptitude.
Ways must be found, to "bill" the party in power and/or its members for the decisions that they make that create the losses, to the province and the taxpers.

"Its our money folks and we want value for dollar."

the green machine said...

if business is caught up in worrying about tax increases why not kill two birds with one stone and raise business tax even more and if the business hire or train and hire they will have their taxes reduced even further than they are today that way business have to do something good to get something good and all will benefit not just a few if I can think up ways with this and many of the other issues to make the economy work with my lack of education than our politicians need to get more creative and go to work for all of us and our economy will change for all of us follow the many and not the few and things will change