B.C. election 2020: Inside the mind of an on-the-fence NDP sympathizer

A commentary for voters who thought Gordon Campbell was a two-headed monster

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      Above this article, you can see one of my all-time favourite Georgia Straight covers.

      It's a Rod Filbrandt illustration showing the two sides of a former premier, Gordon Campbell.

      The green-minded Gordo was in favour of carbon-neutral government, sharp reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, and green power projects.

      The industrial-minded Gordo favoured coal exports, a massive road-building plan called the Gateway Project, and logging in community watersheds.

      I recently thought about that illustration in connection with what must be going on inside the minds of some long-time NDP supporters.

      That led me to imagine an internal conversation that might be taking place inside NDP sympathizer's head as we approach this Saturday's provincial election.

      Inner voice 1: I'm voting NDP. We can't go back to those awful B.C. Liberals. I'm really happy that Horgan jacked up spending on arts and culture. Plus, Horgan is going to freeze my rent.

      Inner voice 2: Are you insane? He's going to spend $12 billion and counting on the Site C dam. All to provide power for an LNG industry that will go bankrupt. Why don't they just call it the Labour Party? Because that's what it is. They blew up the treasury.

      Inner voice 1: You've got a point there. But I can't stomach the thought of Andrew Wilkinson allowing private insurance companies to sell basic auto insurance. That's a friggin' nightmare.

      Inner voice 2: Too true. But I can't get this quote out of my mind from Stuart Parker, who's gone back and forth between the NDP and Greens a zillion times: "Remember on Saturday: no matter how much the B.C. Liberals want to accelerate the extinction event, the B.C. NDP are simply better at managing planetary mass murder. When it comes to fracking, fossil fuel subsidies, ride hailing and increased mining and logging, they are the real deal."

      Inner voice 1: Now, I'm really depressed. But I like a lot of NDP candidates. I feel that they share my values.

      Inner voice 2: They may share your values, but they also prize their jobs. And as long as they stick with Premier Meggs, oops, Premier Horgan, they have to support fracking. They're careerists. 

      Inner voice 1: I'll be honest with you. Fracking doesn't affect me directly right now. But the pandemic does. And I trust Adrian Dix far more than I would trust any B.C. Liberal health minister on this issue.

      Inner voice 2: Yeah, but I trust a former B.C. Liberal health minister, Terry Lake, far more than I would trust Adrian Dix in handling the opioid crisis, which has killed far more people in our community than COVID.

      Inner voice 1: But Lake isn't leading the B.C. Liberals. The leader is that corporate dick Andrew Wilkinson. He couldn't even find a single woman to run on his slate in Vancouver. There's only one woman running for the Liberals in Surrey.

      Inner voice 2: When you say that, I feel like you're trying to checkmate me. Let me ask you this: do you seriously believe it was a good idea for Horgan to abandon bridge tolls as soon as he became premier?

      Inner voice 1: Uh, no. I actually agreed with Andrew Weaver when he said that this move was fiscally reckless. It's already cost the treasury many hundreds of millions of dollars—and that was clearly more important to Horgan than $10 a day childcare. But let's go back to ICBC. The Liberals' nearly destroyed one of Dave Barrett's greatest legacies.

      Inner voice 2: Most of your arguments centre around the NDP being not quite as horrible as the B.C. Liberals. I think the B.C. NDP is a small "l" liberal outfit, slightly to the right of Justin Trudeau but still to the left of Michael Ignatieff.

      Inner voice 1: Oh come on. Horgan was raised in poverty. Justin had a silver spoon. You can't compare the two. Plus, most of Horgan's moves seen designed to make life more affordable for people who have lower incomes. What's wrong with that?

      Inner voice 2: Sure, he represents a constituency with more than its share of lower-income voters. And I agree that it's nice to see a government that actually develops a poverty-reduction plan and buys hotels to house the homeless. But is that really a sufficient offset for blowing up a climate plan with an asinine LNG project that will mostly create short-term jobs? When LNG prices in Asia are never going to reach the prices needed to justify this nonsense? Who's going to bail this thing out when it crashes?

      Inner voice 1: Horgan created a new tax bracket for people earning more than $220,000 per year. That's who will pay. And he cancelled MSP premiums.

      Inner voice 2: My response? His record on education has been pretty shitty. Just read those Patti Bacchus columns in the Georgia Straight. Some parents aren't even being told if there's COVID in their kid's school.

      Inner voice 1: Condo prices seem to be finally come down. And rents are also decreasing in some areas. Horgan has delivered on housing.

      Inner voice 2: That's because there are no tourists. All the Airbnb units are being put back on the market.

      Inner voice 1: The speculation tax helped. I've heard it led to 11,000 more housing units.

      Inner voice 2: Don't get me started on that. Wilkinson says he'll actually tax speculators. This is just a vacancy tax.

      Inner voice 1: You're splitting hairs again. I'm really happy that the NDP brought back the human rights commission. Some of the NDP politicians seem antiracist to me.

      Inner voice 2: Yeah, but this is the same party that has helped whip up racism against Chinese people with that bullshit money-laundering inquiry.

      Inner voice 1: What do you mean?

      Inner voice 2: Come on. The NDP was focusing on casinos and luxury cars, which are popular with Chinese people. But they hardly ever talk about money laundering in the cannabis industry, the over the counter bulletin board, and bitcoin, which are more popular with white people. They talk about China and fentanyl but they don't talk nearly as much about the role of U.S. pharmaceutical giants in thousands of deaths. There's a double standard here.

      Inner voice 1: At least the NDP runs candidates of colour in winnable constituencies. The B.C. Liberals hardly ever do that.

      Inner voice 2: You got me there but Horgan was a bit weak when it came to awarding them with seats at the cabinet table. And the B.C. Greens also have a diverse slate. Then the NDP trolls try to pretend that this isn't the case on their Twitter accounts. They're lying.

      Inner voice 1: The NDP brought in historic legislation recognizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. No other government in Canada did that before them.

      Inner voice 2: And Mike Farnworth gave the B.C. RCMP the green light to deploy massive force against peaceful Wet'suwet'en people who didn't want a pipeline on their territory.

      Inner voice 1: I don't care what you're saying. I'm voting NDP. Horgan is still far better than Wilkinson.

      Inner voice 2: I'm voting Green this time. I'm so fed up with the bullshit.