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

B.C. boy denied $19,000-per-month drug to ease ‘crippling pain’ for 3rd time

Sooke mom Jillian Lanthier says son Landen Alexa has been forgotten about by Premier John Horgan

Senior randomly stabbed in B.C. mall food court

Woman arrested after victim, 71, suffers serious injuries

B.C. Liberal hopefuls begin final leadership push

Five MLAs, one outsider pitch policies to party members

UPDATED: ‘Young, innocent’ teen hit during Vancouver shootout dies

15-year-old Coquitlam boy was in a car driving by the scene

Ontario man charged with selling Canadian’s usernames and passwords

Ontario man ran site that peddled billions of pieces of personal data: RCMP

Video: B.C. documentary features Okanagan ice climbing

First documentary for Penticton filmmaker captures elusive Okanagan ice climbing

David Emerson quits lumber talks as legal action begins

Former federal minister served as B.C. softwood trade point man

Singer of the Cranberries dead at 46

Her publicist says Dolores O’Riordan died suddenly Monday in London. The cause of death wasn’t immediately available.

Toronto police say young girl made up story about hijab cutting

The investigation has been closed after 11-year-old girl claimed her hijab was cut by a scissors-wielding man

Most Read