I always like it when things work as planned. The BC Liberals lost a non-confidence vote. The Liberal Premier went to the L-G and apparently asked for a dissolution of the Legislature and a new election. The L-G said she’d think about it, did, and called the leader of the NDP to form a government.
Now it would have been much more fun if Christy Clarke had refused to resign and had to be dragged from the Premier’s office by…well who actually? It was a fun dinner table conversation last night. But the fact is that John Horgan, with Green support, can command a majority in the Legislature and is going to be Premier.
We will now go through the ritual period in which the NDP will discover that the cupboard is bare and there are no dollars to fund whatever grand promises the NDP has made. And then we discover whether the NDP, in its current incarnation, is rational or driven by ideals. If the former the promises will be put off for another and better day, if the later the debt will balloon and in a matter of a couple of years BC will be broke.
It was long past time for a break in the Liberal hegemony in BC. Not because the Liberals were especially awful; rather because they had long since lost the thread. Where they should have been going gangbusters for growth they imposed dumb carbon taxes and fretted about social licence for LNG and pipelines. Time to get real and recognize that the Greens hold the cards.
To win the Liberals need to lose Clarke. They need to lose the silly, unscientific, Green agenda. They need to come up with an actual, conservative, pro-business, leader and they need to erode the NDP/Green lock on the urban vote.Winning will be about defining and selling a clear pro-growth agenda. But it will also be about actually noticing that the insanity of the BC real estate market, the huge barriers to family formation, the anti-resources bias baked into the bureaucracy, all needs to change.
The good news for the Liberals, or the party which succeeds them on the right, is that the housing market (and the rental market) is about to collapse in a spectacular style. Which will make the urban vote both actually poorer and, eventually, feeling poorer. And that collapse will happen on the NDP’s watch. (It will not be their fault but they will carry the can.) People who were once “rich” and are now underwater on million dollar mortgages will want a way out. Serious economic growth is that way out.
Righty policy wonks in BC need to be gearing up for what happens when the bubble bursts. How should the right position itself to take maximum advantage of a near certain crash?
There is no point in trying to defeat Horgan and the Greens at the moment. Wait for the collapse and then push hard.