While we await the recounts and absentee ballot counts in the BC Provincial election, are you wondering how allegiances and alliances, reins and reigns might evolve? Who’s moving in; who’s heading out; who’s got opportunity? Who’s vulnerable; who’s empowered?
Here’s Paul Willcocks in The Tyee speculating and imagining the wheels turning, doors slamming and the shackles lifting all around BC politics. A fascinating read, with plenty of material around the infamous urban-rural divide.
One example out of many: the lowly backbench MLA, normally a placeholder and a cypher with no voice and little clout:
Says Willcocks: MLAs largely toe the party line, repeating the party talking points and following instructions. I once asked a Liberal MLA, a former corporate executive, about an obviously inaccurate letter to the editor published under his name in his local paper. Not his problem, he said. He was told to sign it, and he did. The premier or opposition leader will still control assignments and perqs — the chance to work on an important issue, a cabinet post, a plum assignment. (The last time I checked, 44 of 48 Liberals were receiving extra pay on top of their $103,000.)
But in a minority government, MLAs have their own leverage. They can’t be shushed; alienate them and the government falls. They’re freer to speak their minds and challenge authority.