Martyn Brown: Sanity, principle, and integrity triumphs in B.C. Greens' deal with NDP

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      How fantastic is that? Sanity, principle, and integrity triumphs!

      Barring some last-minute shenanigans from Premier Christy Clark, British Columbians will indeed get the new Green-backed NDP minority government they deserve.

      Exhale, everybody. The good guys won.

      It wasn’t easy, but the outcome is a credit to all involved from the NDP and the B.C. Green party, as it should also give us all a huge new vote of confidence in their commendable leadership on behalf of our entire province.

      Thanks to the outstanding efforts of Andrew Weaver’s B.C. Green party and John Horgan’s NDP, and their respective negotiating teams, democracy has triumphed.

      Principle has won out over political expediency.

      Integrity has won the day.

      And confidence rules supreme.

      At this point, the detailed terms of the two parties’ agreement are unclear. I await with interest the fine print, but the broad strokes are likely clear enough.

      I assume those terms of agreement will include a vote on whatever model of proportional representation might be ultimately recommended—a major sticking point for me, which I expect was rightly resolved.

      More broadly speaking, the deal reached can only be good for B.C. I expect it reflects a joint commitment to the values and policies that made the NDP-Green alliance a natural fit, which are most worthy of the public trust.

      It won’t be easy governing with a one-seat majority alliance. But with sufficient discipline and resolve, those 44 members from both parties should be able to pull it off.

      They should be capable of providing the stability that all of those MLAs want for B.C., as they work together in furtherance of all they promised in common, for the benefit of British Columbia.

      Together, those NDP and Green members have already achieved something of astounding historical consequence: they have partnered for needed and widley supported change that promises to forever alter B.C.’s ideologically divisive political landscape.

      They have already shown that minority governments can work, if the people we elect are prepared to work together by listening to one another, by being receptive to each other’s ideas, and by compromising as need be to make progress on the public’s priorities.

      New Democrats and Greens alike should give themselve a huge pat on the back, including for choosing Horgan and Weaver to lead their parties. Ex-Liberals such as myself could not be happier.

      We now stand on the threshold of an exciting future that is predicated on hope, on environmentally sustainable development, and on a socially responsible vision for a more compassionate, tolerant, and inclusive society.

      We stand on the edge of a new paradigm in B.C. politics that refuses to be bowed by the age-old dichotomy of jobs versus environment, or by the discredited notion that governments are the problem, rather than the pivotal agents they should be in leading material social progress.

      The NDP and Greens have locked arms to set aside their parochial partisan concerns, in honouring their joint potential to deliver the change that 60 percent of us voted for.

      In so doing, they have already largely made good on their fundamental campaign promises of “change you can count on” to “build a better B.C.”

      Martyn Brown (above), the long-serving chief of staff to former premier Gordon Campbell, says it's time for Christy Clark to resign as B.C. Liberal leader.

      I have every confidence in the world that they will do their level best to make good on their common commitments to ban big money in politics; to kill the Kinder Morgan project; and to get serious about climate action and environmental protection.

      Indeed, all British Columbians should have confidence in the confidence that the NDP and Greens have in each other to act on the mandate they were implicitly given: to turn the page on the Clark government and to put something better in its place.

      Namely, a government that is for all the people, and not just for the rich and powerful; a government that is truly accountable for its actions and keen to improve on the failures of its predecessors; a government that listens, learns, and decisively acts with honour, integrity, and bold strokes for positive change.

      Whatever relative minor policy differences the Greens and NDP may have at the margins, their fundamental vision for prosperity is a shared roadmap for a better tomorrow.

      Together, they have pledged to vote in support of throne speeches and budgets that will advance their shared prescriptions for change and the majority’s will, as they also give new power to the voices of those who have for too long been ignored, devalued, or systemically hurt.

      Together, the NDP and Greens will make our responsible government work, by making it more responsive to the people it serves. 

      It promises to be a minority government that will properly invest in services for patients, students, seniors, young parents, children, and persons with disabilities.

      One that will provide more affordable housing and make life fairer and more affordable for families and for people living on lower incomes. One that will invest now in the public infrastructure and public transit that we will need for tomorrow.

      It promises to be a government backed by two parties that are united in wanting to forge a genuine new relationship with aboriginal communities; parties that are also united in wanting to diversify our economy.

      Both the NDP and Greens are committed to capitalizing on the strength of our cultural diversity, on our human ingenuity, on our rich pool of human talent, and on the unbridled potential of the new knowledge economy—to make B.C. a better place.

      Both parties want to usher in a newly vibrant B.C. that is powered by lifelong learning, 21st-century skills, and an unflagging faith in the value of public education.

      Clark and her B.C. Liberal government have been soundly repudiated by that common commitment from the NDP and Greens, which stands in stark contrast to the scandal-ridden rule that has so devalued those priorities and that is so wedded to the fossil-fuel economy.

      Clark must now recognize that her government has already received its first formal vote of nonconfidence, by dint of the vote of confidence that Weaver’s Greens have placed instead in Horgan’s NDP, to form a new government.

      The majority of members now stand flatly opposed to the current government, which now lacks the numbers it needs in the legislature to be considered a responsible government.

      The lieutenant-governor, as well, has had a strong message today: responsible government lies in a new Horgan-led minority that is predicated on a stable majority partnership and a 44-member strong community of interest.

      Clark must at once do the only honourable thing: she must agree to facilitate that new chapter in B.C.’s history and not further stand in its way, or frustrate the people’s overwhelming will.

      She must resign forthwith.

      Today’s announcement was at once a clear vote of non-confidence in the Clark government and a resounding vote of confidence in a new Horgan administration, guaranteed by a majority of British Columbians’ elected representatives.

      Responsible government demands that Clark accept that verdict and not further protract the uncertainty that she herself has condemned as harmful to our citizens and to our economy.

      Just go, Christy, for God’s sake. 

      Show some class. Admit you lost. Resign at once.

      Help expedite the transition to a new NDP minority government, which is now firmly backed by the three Greens, who all deserve our unqualified thanks in doing the right thing, to help our province win, as it deserves.

      Martyn Brown was former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell’s long-serving chief of staff, the top strategic adviser to three provincial party leaders, and a former deputy minister of tourism, trade, and investment. He also served as the B.C. Liberals' public campaign director in 2001, 2005, and 2009, in addition to his other extensive campaign experience, and he was the principal author of four election platforms. Contact Brown at