Put that in your pipe…



Re: A voice in the wilderness Observer, Feedback, Feb. 2.

I have to admit that I had a good chuckle when I read Dave Ligterwood’s critique of my independent status and his claim that consensus government is a “pipe dream.”

Dave grossly simplifies my contention that democratic change is both necessary and possible.

His suggestion I was lauding the Nunavut government as a model for the B.C. government is inaccurate.

In fact, that reference did not come from me but from a senior (and NDP member) in the audience at the Senior’s Advocacy meeting I spoke at; a meeting at which the desire for fundamental change in our democratic system was clearly evident as the majority of questions and comments after my brief talk were about how we change our system and make it more about governance than partisan politics.

The part of Dave’s argument that made me chuckle though was his contention that, “thinking 85 independent MLAs serving 4.5 million people could function with any sort of modicum [sic] is simply a pipe dream.”

I’m quite certain that most British Columbians (and Canadians) don’t believe the current party-based, oppositional, election-focused and leader centric form of government we have now functions with any sort of modicum of decorum.

Some might even argue that it doesn’t function at all.

Our legislative system was actually designed to operate without parties: originally all elected MLAs chose the premier and all elected MLAs were possible cabinet ministers and all elected MLAs played a legitimate and vital role in the governing our province.

Now, because of the stranglehold parties have on our system, one MLA, the leader of the majority party, gets to run the province

out of his or her office and the other 84 MLAs are essentially relegated to fighting the last election or positioning for the

next one.

Witness the fact that our government is currently stalled out waiting for the Liberals to select a new leader.

Finally, I had another chuckle when Dave, the former president of the Cariboo Chilcotin NDP, had to finish his critique with a personal attack by questioning whether I was serving myself or my constituents by remaining as an independent.

Dave’s questions about how an independent MLA can serve constituents in a party-based system are legitimate; however, devolving to questioning my motives is exactly the kind of attack-based partisanship that most British Columbians detest and would like to see come to an end.

Bob Simpson

MLA Cariboo North

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