Premier Christy Clark wants MLAs, especially cabinet members, who don't intend to run again to step aside so she can clear the decks for the general election in May.
As a result, this week saw the resignations of Finance Minister Kevin Falcon, Education Minister George Abbott, Minister of Children and Family Development Mary McNeil and John Les, parliamentary secretary to the premier.
It's fairly standard procedure for cabinet ministers to give up their posts if they don't intend to run in an impending election. It allows the premier to choose new cabinet members from among those who are staying, both for continuity and to give exposure to those will be campaigning for re-election.
It might be good political strategy, but it's not necessarily good government.
With this week's resignations, the Clark government loses considerable strength and expertise. Finance is a hefty portfolio; it won't do to drop just anyone in there. It will take someone who will keep a sharp watch on the numbers, not just an eye on the next election.
George Abbott's departure leaves an especially big hole. Representing his Shuswap riding since 1996, he has been an asset in the legislature. He has held five cabinet positions, and has handled every portfolio with common sense and dignity.
He sought the B.C. Liberal leadership, almost a quixotic quest, given that he comes from the Interior, but was gracious in that defeat and did not hesitate to continue his service to his riding and to the province. Moderate and a voice of reason, he is just the kind of person we want to see in politics.
Now that he is bowing out, the province's uneasy relationship with teachers is at risk of being thrown back into turmoil.
Clark faces the challenge of naming new cabinet members. She says she has a lot of "bench strength" in her caucus, but it's hard to escape the conclusion she will be choosing from among the MLAs not deemed suitable for cabinet positions the first time around.
She says she's planning to go into the election campaign with a new team, but her new team is the B team, the second-stringers.
It's all part of the manoeuvring and strategizing for the May election, and therein, perhaps, lies her problem.
While those in the thick of things are caught up in political strategies, the public would like to see more governing and less jostling for position.
What we need from Clark is a strong vision, not just sales talk like "families first." We need strong direction from her, evidence that she knows where she is taking the province and how she's going to do it. She needs to show that she's in charge.
B.C. needs clear-eyed leadership more than it does clever politics.
The polls show the B.C. Liberals trailing the NDP badly, which means Clark is rowing upstream against a strong current. It's up to the premier and her government to dig in, be bold and take some risks, or stand the very real risk of drifting downstream to oblivion.
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