Life of Brian. It's not going to be much longer as Premier, so why is he hanging on?
Like many of you, I have been trying to figure out why Premier Gallant is so determined to try to continue on as leader of a Liberal government, despite there being no path forward for him to do so. I can appreciate he likes the job and doesn’t want to give it up, and I see he has jumped to sign what the Green Party calls its Declaration of Intent. It is a document that obliges the signatories to focus on Green Party priorities including fiscal and environmental management and respect for language and indigenous rights. It appears to be the starting point for any party who wants to court Green support.
So Gallant signed it without hesitation. It doesn’t matter. The math simply doesn’t work for him. He’s still short of a majority and with telling the People’s Alliance, before the election, that he wants nothing to do with them, he slammed that door shut. So unless he pulls off some magic worthy of Perley the Magician and surprises us with Tories who have agreed to cross the floor to join him, he will be, as Tiger Williams once so eloquently put it, “done like dinner”.
Why Gallant refuses to face the inevitable remains a mystery. It was understandable at first, as Liberals, not unlike the Tories, worked the phones like crazy trying to entice converts. But the election was more than two weeks ago, so it is obvious that if he was going to find a floor-crosser or two that would have happened by now.
So why not concede that he doesn’t have enough support to govern, and step down with dignity, rather than going through the motions and being forced out? It is true he has the legislative right to go down on a non-confidence vote, but what is accomplished by doing that?
Whatever the reason, unless Gallant concedes rather than calling the legislature back within the next couple of weeks, we will go through the motions, he will be done, and Blaine Higgs will have the shot he has been salivating for.
While Higgs only scored one more seat than Gallant did, that one could make all the difference. Not that he couldn’t be defeated on his own confidence vote, but he won’t be, because no one wants an election. Neither the Greens nor the People’s Alliance, or the Tories for that matter, have the money to fight another election. Plus, they all know it wouldn’t be wise to temp fate, especially with the ire of the public that would be directed at whoever is seen as forcing us to the polls again. No one wants to wear that.
And the Liberals won’t want one any time soon either. Defeated Premiers don’t tend to hang around, and usually it’s a mutual decision. They don’t want to go from leading the government to leading the Opposition, and the party usually wants to replace them anyway. So Gallant will ride off into that dark night, and eventually take his reward as an Ambassador or something, and the party will search out a new leader. But that process takes time so there will be no rush from them for an early election either.
So, we will have Premier Higgs for the next 18 months or so, as that is the lifespan of the average minority government in this country.
I for one, applaud my fellow voters for deciding on a minority government. It can do wonders in changing the attitude of whatever the governing party is, in that it can keep them humble. It can produce legislation that better represents the interests of a bigger percentage of the province. It can lead to more transparency, a more democratically run legislature with a more honest committee system, and, it will force parties to work together, to co-operate for the betterment of all. And wouldn’t that be a pleasant change?
Know what else would be a pleasant change? Proportional Representation. But that’s a blog for another day.
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