Martyn Brown: The speech that wasn’t from the throne

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      [Check against delivery.] 

      The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC Lieutenant-Governor

      — at the —

      41st Parliament, 1st Session
      — of the —
      Province of British Columbia June 22, 2017

      Dear British Columbians. Members of the Legislative Assembly.

      Her Majesty, the Queen bids you all her best.

      She also congratulates your newly elected speaker, the Hon. Steve Thomson. Long may you reign, too, Mr. Speaker!

      I see you smiling, premier. You will see me smile soon enough, when next we chat, about what will flow from this astonishing speech from the throne.

      So much has transpired since I last addressed this chamber.

      The world that was, is no longer. The people have spoken and have left themselves dumbstruck.

      Indeed, I, too, would be at a loss of words, had your government not put these words in my mouth.

      May their import, truth, and wisdom rattle the cages of credulity and convention.

      We have entered a new era of suspended disbelief: that is the principle message of this throne speech.

      Disbelief in each other can never be eradicated; but it can be suspended, with a sufficient lack of conviction and a healthy new naiveté, which your premier has sworn to embrace with all her heart.

      Sadly, your government mourns the passing of those who left us too soon.

      No names are necessary. You know who you are.

      They are the fallen and the righteous many. The ones in blue and red, who have gone to greener pastures, or who simply surrendered to the void, in blissful sleep.

      May God have mercy on their souls.

      Many—too many to mention—have made such enormous contributions that your government shall never forget.

      To the barons of Big Oil, the lions of commerce, and the deacons of development that gave so much and got so little in return—this government is forever in your debt. Literally.

      Know that your pain shall end as the world of hurt your government invited upon itself and on you is also rapidly coming to a close.

      Big money shall have no place in the new world order.

      Indeed, your government now sees that world through entirely different eyes—bloodshot, anguished, and weary.

      As of today, all bets are off, as it were.

      The war that was is over.

      Its winners are now officially losers.

      Victory must be seen and accepted in relative terms by this government that couldn’t buy a government for love or money, try as it did to do just that.

      Unconditional surrender is in the air. Retreat is now the better part of valour.

      Dignity, if nothing else, demands hoisting the white flag and waving it with all one’s might.

      It demands we invite the opposition’s promised land, which your government made a no man’s land through its merciless 16-year war of attrition, never giving an inch to the causes it now purports to support.

      The policy field is littered with the dead corpses of your government’s sad straw men, paper tigers, and empty suits.

      And so it has come to this: a government that is on its last legs, reeling in its mortality.

      A government that is now faced with two options: to beg like a dog for forgiveness, and die accordingly; or to act with noble intent, and vacate the field entirely that has already been lost to the forces for change.

      Is that too obtuse? No matter.

      It should be clear by now, your government rarely understands or means what it says. It just says things that sound good and holds out empty rhetoric as a shield of denial.

      But not this time. Your government’s moment of clarity has finally hit home. The time has come for action.

      Your government was going to detail a long list of actions that flew in the face of everything it supposedly believed in, said, or did. All of them were, of course, stolen from its avowed enemies, in a bid to divide and conquer them once again.

      The list was impressive, written no less, in the premier’s own crocodile tears. Your government almost went with it, in one last desperate appeal for redemption.

      It had prepared a throne speech ripped from the pages of its opponents’ plan for a new world order—a plan that it had assailed and never in its wildest years imagined it could ever adopt as its own rationale to rule.

      It was a sell-out of biblical proportions that not even the governing party’s most devout believers would accept on faith, let alone welcome.

      It was a recipe for ridicule—an unhinged and unprincipled act of self-flagellation.

      In its turpitude and political calculus, it was a sorry excuse for excusing the inexcusable.

      Your government told the premier where to stick it—and leader that she is, she did.

      Which is why this throne speech that wasn’t will conclude with these words.

      Your government is no more. It recognizes it does not enjoy the confidence of this assembly.

      It recognizes that a majority of this legislature’s elected representatives want a new government.

      A government that to a person they have united to get, if the reader of this throne speech does not stand in their way.

      Your government recognizes that nothing it can say will change that fact.

      Nor can anything it now promises alter that desire of the 57 percent of all voters. Together they cast over 300,000 more votes than the governing party’s supporters, specifically, to bring about that change in government, which will have the courage of its convictions to deliver on its election commitments.

      Your government knows it has lost the people’s confidence.

      It knows that no amount of lip-service to policy changes lifted from the opposition can ever satisfy the people’s democratic wish and verdict.

      Because the vast majority of British Columbians do not—and will not ever—trust this government and its current leadership.

      Your government now sees it is irredeemable.

      Because of who leads it and who serves in it, and because of how utterly untrustworthy and unprincipled they have proven themselves to be.

      As such, this throne speech will be this government’s last act and easily the most honourable thing it has ever done.

      It is throwing in the towel, so sorry for its failings and for the uncertainty it has so needlessly perpetuated over the last two months.

      The new government will have this assembly’s full support in actually doing the things its alliance parties pledged to do. An entire platform, just about, that this outgoing government has now also notionally embraced.

      Sorry, British Columbia. Your government fucked up, as demonstrated once again by its last use of unparliamentary language normally reserved for the members opposite.

      And now it is going … going … and gone for good, along with its sorry actors.

      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