The recent accession of Christy Clark to the leadership of the Liberal Party highlights several issues in B.C. politics.
The first issue is that of popular voting, with a commendation to the Liberal Party for exercising a very democratic preferential ballot system. Everyone cast a second ballot and the second ballots were recounted as necessary until on of the parties achieved 50 per cent plus one for a majority.
Equally commendable was the system in which each electoral district was allotted 100 points or ballots towards the final tally (thus totalling 8,500).
This raises the issue for the next B.C. election: will the liberal coalition implement a preferential ballot system in order that all MLAs are elected by a majority of at least 50 per cent plus one, rather than continue the rather manipulable and deceptive first-past-the-post system that we now have?
Following on that idea, the statistics announced indicate that of all the registered Liberal voters, only 62 per cent actually voted, a rather low turnout.
Given that Christy Clark won with a 52 per cent majority, it really indicates that she was elected leader of the party by only about 32 per cent of registered Liberals.
Our new premier can hardly be considered to have been given a mandate for change, one of her two themes for the night.
The first theme was family, and Clark’s first way to help families is employment. All well and good, but employment is transitory especially if created through mega-projects of any kind. To truly help the employed, Christy has several questions to respond to. Will they implement a fair wage law so all workers receive equal pay for equal work?
Better yet for the family, will this employment be in the medical sector which, particularly in this riding, requires more manpower (we have the facilities)?
As education is of prime importance for creating skilled critical constructive thinkers for creating employment in new sectors as required by declining oil resources and climate change, will this employment be in the education sector?
Both of these sectors provide long-term sustainable employment not dependent on the vagaries of mega-projects that harvest our resources – and the profits that go with them – for overseas markets.
Finally for employment, as parts of the agriculture sector are continually under threat from the U.S. dumping its subsidized produce here, will the government provide aid for the agriculturists so that in the long future, when oil is very expensive, we will be able to sustain our own producers?
Clark’s second theme was change, a rather amorphous hard to pin down concept when there is no actual concrete suggestions of change made.
Will this change involve doing away with the historic role of Liberal/Conservative highway construction as a means of stimulating the economy and perhaps shifting it over to looking at modern rapid transit as is occurring elsewhere in the advancing regions of the world?
The Lower Mainland and the Okanagan could do well with electric light transit replacing much of the road construction that would occur under the status quo. Will this change involve the electoral changes as suggested above?
Will this change stop the transfer of taxes from the corporate sector that has steadily over the years been moved to the everyday citizen by way of value added taxes and numerous fee implementations and increases for activities that should be covered by general revenue?
Christy Clark has a lot of rhetoric to live up to. It will be interesting to see how it plays out over the six months or so towards the next general election.