Please Advise! What Madness Lies Ahead for BC’s Legislature?

Look to ‘Game of Thrones’ for answers, says spin doctor Steve.

By Steve Burgess 1 Jun 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

[Editor's note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a Ph.D in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

The coming legislative session is going to be unlike any B.C. has ever seen. How do you think it will play out?


Leg Man

Dear Leg,

First things first. We must ring out the old. Rather than resign, Premier Christy Clark has opted to convene the legislature and propose a Liberal program. It’s a throne speech game. When the Mad King Aerys II made his final throne speech — I believe the proposed program was “Burn them all!” — he was then subjected to a vote of non-confidence by Jaime “Kingslayer” Lannister. Clark too will swiftly be removed from the big chair, albeit in bloodless fashion. Then with the support of Andrew “Ned Stark” Weaver, John Horgan will ascend to the Timber Throne.

Game of Thrones is largely filmed in Northern Ireland, another place where they signed an epic agreement between Orange and Green. The Irish agreement has proved durable. But what of B.C.? The NDP/Green partnership (don’t call it a coalition, the leaders warn) will produce a 44/43 split, a voting majority thinner than a Sean Spicer rationalization.

With a one-seat margin, any number of scenarios could lead to a lost vote in the legislature. An MLA delayed as a mother duck leads her babies across a busy Victoria street; a rogue GPS device sending a new MLA to Little Monkey Rentals on Elk Road; a sudden mumps outbreak reveals the existence of a small group of anti-vaxxers in the NDP caucus; the NDP MLA for Gotham Central misses a vote while battling the Joker; a Donald Trump tweet causes an MLA’s head to explode; somebody gets really drunk and falls down the stairs. The possibilities are endless.

It will be necessary for NDP and Green MLAs to be present and accounted for at all times if the government is to survive. Sources tell Dr. Steve that long-haul truck drivers are secretly briefing NDP and Green MLAs on how to pee into bottles. Portable camp showers will become standard. The new government may be forced to offer massive tax breaks to Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza just to ensure the delivery of crucial supplies. Every single day the legislature is in session will be Bring Your Kids to Work Day. Routine dentistry or surgery requiring only local anaesthetic will be performed on the back benches; more invasive surgical procedures will be performed during Question Period. In the event of actual death puppetry and wire work will be employed to ensure votes.

Then there is the fact that a single provincial byelection could have consequences equal to those of a general election. All it takes is one MLA deciding to chase a lifelong dream of Nashville stardom and the jig could be up. Even now Liberal MLAs are reportedly going out of their way to flatter opposition members for their lovely singing voices. Several have privately insisted to Mike Farnworth that he has a future in professional modelling.

And even this tenuous NDP/Green hold on power presumes that the Horgan/Weaver bromance will hold up. They have certainly looked very chummy this week. But this is no merger. Next election, whenever it comes, will presumably find the NDP and Greens once again fielding candidates against each other. Unless that changes and some wider deal is struck there will continue to be a political motive for each party to put daylight between itself and its temporary partner.

The bridge toll issue, to name just one, will give the New Democrats a chance to position themselves as the champions of ordinary folks at the expense of their new best friends. The Greens might well be expected to search for their own wedge issues to shore up their own support and build on their new momentum.

Every political partnership is to some extent a Prisoner’s Dilemma. Will this alliance result in a four-year term? Or is somebody planning a breakout? Christy Clark may yet be able to ditch her “HUMBLE” approach for more of a Cersei Lannister vibe.  [Tyee]

Read more: BC Politics

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