Martyn Brown: Premier Wile E. Coyote’s last run

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      Oh, that Christy Clark. She’s a wily one. It is a reputation she has reveled in cultivating, usually to the cheers of the legislative press gallery, who mostly marvelled at her “genius”.

      In these last cartoon-days as B.C.’s premier, she is looking more like Wile E. Coyote.

      Images abound.

      Running her party over the cliff, momentarily defying gravity, until the truth of her predicament finally sinks in, as it did yesterday.

      “Beep, beep!” wave the NDP and Greens, carrying merrily on their way.

      Her government is now in the part of the show that we like the best: the act of falling, plummeting past the falling obstacles that it threw out at the Leg, which if by some unwelcome miracle, there is an election anytime soon, will surely squash it.

      It’s Looney Tunes, all of it.

      The insane pre-election positioning on problems of the government’s own making, which set the stage for the train-wreck now in motion.

      The crazy campaign, underscored by the B.C. Liberals’ absurdly nonsensical, non-platform.

      The deranged decision not to resign with dignity when it was clear the jig was up, to save her party the ridiculous spectacle in self-destruction that it has invited upon itself.

      The even loonier acts of desperation ever since, which anyone with even a modicum of sense could see were destined to fail: from the ludicrous throne speech, to the preposterous legislation yesterday, that rightly didn’t even pass first reading.

      Oh-oh. Premier Wile E. Coyote is at it again.

      Setting traps for her enemy that never work, until she triggers them on herself and on her government.

      Dynamiting her party’s own principles and policies. Pressing the plunger on its brand, when any fool could see that each ruse would only blow up in the Liberals’ own face.

      What improbable new tricks will she try in these last few days, courtesy of the Acme Corporation?

      One look at the faces behind her in yesterday’s question period and you know, it doesn’t matter what they are, they are bound to fail. Her colleagues all watching with horror as each fresh assault on their self-esteem unfolds.

      Today, it’s Mike de Jong who has been called upon to try to save the government’s sorry hide.

      He has written to the speaker, hoping to convince him to enter the partisan fray, as the clerk of the legislature did on his own volition prior to Steve Thomson’s acclamation, with his gratuitous lecture on the role of the speaker.

      Essentially, Craig James’s unsolicited remarks put the kibosh on the necessarily partisan speaker’s role that the NDP-Green alliance might be forced into supporting, if it is obliged to put up a tie-breaking speaker from its own ranks, in the event that Thomson resigns when the government is defeated.

      Now the government house leader is effectively asking that same individual to offer his “independent” opinion on how his expected resignation from that post might effect his successor, and by extension, an NDP government.

      “I believe that each duly elected member would benefit greatly from receiving a clear and authoritative description of the rules and precedents that would guide a Speaker in the exercise of his/her responsibilities in each of the circumstances outlined above,” de Jong wrote.

      It is an outrageous attempt to enlist the Liberal speaker, who his party hopes will resign when the government falls, to help make the legislature less workable and to force a snap election.

      Things never worked out for Wile E. Coyote—and they won't for Christy Clark, either.

      Premier Wile E. Coyote has no shame. She is prepared to sully Thomson’s reputation by pressuring him to write an opinion on how the speaker’s office is fundamentally incompatible with the alliance's ever more probable crash course with convention.

      Given the centrality of Thomson's decision whether to remain as speaker, or to quit when the government is defeated, he is clearly already conflicted. He has no business  offering an opinion on a crisis of confidence in the speaker that he stands to trigger, if he ultimately puts his partisan interests ahead of the public interest that he could so easily serve by keeping his new job and making the legislature easier to manage.

      If Thomson obliges, it will do nothing more than prove his unworthiness for the job he now holds, which would be a travesty, given the high esteem with which is now so rightly held.

      Desperate times call for no end of desperate measures, I guess, but the speaker should not allow himself or his office to be so crassly compromised, as his former caucus colleagues are hoping both will be, to somehow save their political bacon.

      The NDP-Green alliance is having none of it, other than as incidental actors in a script that can only end even more badly for their nemesis across the canyon of disbelief, otherwise known as the B.C. legislature.

      The NDP is right not to engage in the throne speech charade. In fact, if I were John Horgan or Andrew Weaver, I wouldn’t put up another single speaker. I wouldn’t ask another single question in Question Period.

      I would just sit on my hands, soaking in these last few moments of a government that seems hell-bent on chasing power through its own animated escape exits, to hit the hard wall of reality. Its unending humiliation is its own reward.

      Yesterday, Clark warned again and again that “the road to stability in British Columbia is to ensure that we avoid the risk of an election, which is a very real one and which will not lead to stability in our province.”

      “Let's get on with the business of governing”, she chided. “Let's avoid the risk of an election … No British Columbians want another election. Let's get on with the business of government.”

      Beep, beep.

      I hope the lieutenant-governor is listening to that advice that her premier has sworn not to offer in person, after her government falls on its face as expected.

      It is the clearest statement yet as to why Clark should have simply let the NDP and Greens get on with the business of government long before now. If only to spare her party the ignominy of reducing itself to the caricature it has now become, in everyone’s eyes but hers.

      We are witnessing a parody of farcical proportions. It will cast Clark and her Liberals as a public laughing stock for many years to come.

      It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic in the too-real implications it has suffered upon our province and on all British Columbians.

      Thursday’s vote can’t come soon enough. Until then, best to have a sense of humour about the ongoing trials and tribulations that the government is enduring in its Looney Tunes desert. Silly buggers.

      The New Democrats and Greens are miles ahead of where they were on election night, standing tall and looking pretty. There is no catching them now. They are not about to fall on their faces.

      It’s a beautiful thing to behold.

      “Road Runner”—I can hear that song now in my head—“the Coyote's after you. Road Runner,

      If he catches you, you're through!”

      Best part of the show is that we all know that’s not going to happen.

      Three more days to watch. Enjoy the repeats while they last.

      Like the world's most beloved pig-at-the-trough once said, "that's all, folks."

      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