Democracy the loser in provincial budget

Democracy takes a hit as Liberals run the province through the premier's office.

We all knew that there would be no great announcements stemming from the recent provincial budget.

However, there are a couple of items in the budget that, while not great funding announcements, should be of concern to British Columbians … particularly those who are concerned about the state of our democracy.

The Liberal budget was largely a status quo budget, which is understandable given that the party has a new leader and, by default, British Columbians will have a new premier.

It’s understandable that the new premier will likely want to make a few changes.

In order to accommodate the new leader’s wishes, the Liberals left nearly $1 billion unallocated in the provincial budget.

There is $350 million in forecast allowances, a fund meant to shield the budget from unexpected risks, and a $600 million contingency fund. The latter is specifically for the new premier to allocate to his or her pet projects.

It seems the Liberals have not learned anything from the Gordon Campbell era. Gordon Campbell was a master at centralizing power in the premier’s office.

Everything in government, it seems, had to go through the premier’s office.

We elect 85 MLAs, for what? To have all the decisions of government made in one office? Hardly. And yet, with last week’s budget the Liberals are committing to the status quo of power centralized in one office, controlled by one person.

Not surprisingly, all the Liberal leadership candidates thought the provincial budget was just wonderful. Why wouldn’t they? The budget consolidates the power of whoever is chosen as leader … and when the budget was tabled it could have been any one of them.

To top it off, the legislature sat for four days … just long enough to pass a Throne Speech and a budget.

That’s it, four days.

That, of course, follows the mantra that everything goes through the premier’s office anyway. Why bother going through the nasty business of open public debate in the Legislature by democratically elected representatives when the premier runs everything in government anyway?

None of the Liberal leadership contenders seemed to want to rock that boat, which is why British Columbians concerned about the state of our democracy should be very, very concerned about the “status quo” budget.

Gordon Campbell was forced to resign because British Columbians don’t want the “status quo.”

The Liberals have yet to realize that.


Just Posted

Decision on Burns Lake’s workforce camp “pending very soon”: Coastal GasLink

Meetings to discuss new camp location postponed due to wildfire situation

B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

Provincial registration uptake among lowest in Canada

Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its annual operational spending report

Northern Health set to take pulse of region’s heart health in new consultations

Fort St. James’ consultation will take place Oct. 11

No end in sight for B.C. labour shortfall: study

Retiring baby boomers causing demographic labour pool shift

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Driver’s warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Northwest B.C. high school student lands role in Monkey Beach

The novel by Haisla-author Eden Robinson is being filmed in Kitimat and Kitamaat Village

Around the BCHL – Trail Smoke Eater grad to captain NCAA Michigan Tech Huskies

Around the BCHL is a regular look at the BCHL and goings-on throughout the junior A world.

Thieves escape after man claims his wife is giving birth

RCMP searching for suspects in brazen daytime break in

Rural Canada Post carriers could see 25-per-cent pay hike: spokesman

An arbitrator has released a ruling in a long-standing pay equity dispute at Canada Post

Seventh day of searching for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts are concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Freeland brings optimism back to NAFTA talks

NAFTA talks resume in Washington

BC Children’s Hospital warns of possible PayPal fraud

Recipients are asked to forward the emails to PayPal

Most Read