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Opinion
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BC Election 2020

Another Word to Progressives: Don’t Fall for NDP Fearmongering

The New Dems have failed on Site C, climate and other issues. They shouldn’t get a free pass in this snap election.

Jo-Ann Roberts 22 Oct 2020 | TheTyee.ca

Jo-Ann Roberts is the former interim leader of the Green Party of Canada. She was the Green Party’s candidate in Victoria during the 2015 federal election. She lives in Halifax.

This week, “lifetime New Democrat” and political strategist Bill Tieleman told Tyee readers not to act impulsively and deny the NDP the majority John Horgan so sorely wants.

One wonders what the NDP’s internal polling must be telling them following Sonia Furstenau’s widely lauded leadership debate performance.

What Tieleman and the NDP are really saying is don’t hold us accountable for the issues you care about.

In fact, Tieleman goes even further when he says, “Don’t punish us.” He wants voters who don’t like what the NDP has done to vote for the New Democrats anyway to give them even more power. That makes no sense, and is just one more variation of the same old scare tactic. Vote NDP or, Tieleman threatens, the BC Liberals will be back.

The bottom line is that if you don’t want the Liberals back in power, don’t vote Liberal. Democracy works best when you vote for what you want, instead of holding your nose and trying to vote for who might win.

Why is Tieleman trying to scare voters? Is it because he doesn’t want you to look too closely at the BC NDP’s record?

Maybe he’s worried that voters will question why Horgan plowed ahead with building Site C despite escalating costs and geotechnical issues. Or why the BC NDP went back on their criticism of the BC Liberals’ LNG plans and handed $6 billion in subsidies to the fracking industry. They continue to mislead voters with the claim that LNG can fit within B.C.’s climate targets, when that is easily disproved.

They have also under-delivered on affordability and child care. Horgan has tried to pin the last one on the Greens, but Furstenau has the evidence that shows that she and Katrina Chen, minister of state for child care, worked very well together on the file.

The BC NDP did what the federal Liberals always do: they campaigned to the left and governed to the right. The BC Liberals have no credibility on issues like Site C, climate change and affordability. The Greens are the only party that can, with any credibility, hold the NDP to account on these issues. Furstenau has proved very effective at that with only five weeks on the job as leader.

Let’s also look at the reason why Horgan called this snap election.

It came six days after Sonia Furstenau was elected leader. She has since produced a letter she sent to Horgan saying the Greens wanted to collaborate with him on a host of progressive issues.

One has to wonder, given her stellar performance in this election, if he was more worried about preventing Furstenau from building profile and becoming more appealing to voters than he was about actually working together to deal with the major issues facing the province.

Horgan said that the Greens’ opposition to Bill 22, which would allow people under 19 to be held against their will after an overdose, was his reason for his decision to call an early election. But mental health experts, the chief coroner and Indigenous groups all raised concerns about the legislation. The Greens have said they were willing to reexamine the bill after the government addressed these concerns. So, by pinning the election on this issue, Horgan is showing that what he really wants is not to be challenged on his decisions.

Tieleman’s article is a massive tell. He’s begging progressive voters to give the NDP a free pass, so they don’t have to answer for their unpopular decisions. But elections are all about accountability. If voters don’t use their vote to hold parties accountable, what impetus is there for parties and politicians to change their ways?

In fact, there has never been a better election to vote Green. The Liberals are in such disarray they have no chance of winning. A Green caucus led by Sonia Furstenau will be a strong voice for climate action, for doing the right thing when it comes to Site C, and for implementing stronger social policies.

But an NDP government without another party to challenge them on these issues won’t have any reason to take real progressive action.  [Tyee]

Read more: BC Election 2020

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