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Now not the time to bring down Liberals: Simpson

Bob Simpson, independent MLA for Cariboo North, says this is not the time to bring down the Liberal government despite the Liberals' uncertain majority.

In a February 15 post on his website, Simpson writes:

Speculating about a government collapse might make for an interesting story, but be careful what you wish for. Here's what this vote means.

First, the vote everyone's talking about is merely the vote to allow first reading of the budget, meaning MLAs would be asked to vote down a budget they haven't seen. Not exactly an informed decision by any measure.

Second, regardless of the outcome, we were never going to actually vote on the budget this session. Pre-election budgets do not go through the full debate required to allow them to come to a vote. Suggesting the Government will be brought down on their budget vote is nonsensical.

Third, and most importantly, bringing the government down on Tuesday by refusing to even look at the Liberals' budget would mean we could go to the polls without passing the interim supply bill. What does that mean? It means those MLAs voting against the government would also be voting to shut down government. It means that, after March 31st, the Executive would have to obtain a special warrant to approve spending to ensure that government employees are paid, surgeries continue as planned, roads are maintained, and government agencies keep their doors open.

In short, this is the worst kind of U.S.-style partisan brinksmanship.

Simpson ends his post with an argument for rescheduling the provincial election:

What all of this posturing proves is that we absolutely must move the election date to the fall. The Independent MLAs have asked for this change to be made this session. The BC NDP have supported this request, and the BC Liberals who have responded have dismissed it, although multiple government members have supported this idea in the past. This is exactly the sort of reform we won't be able to enact this session if the government falls next week.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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