FOULDS: Profiting from the pandemic and breaking one's bond

If a man’s word cannot be trusted, what is left of his character to consider?

The provincial election will be held the same day the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce stages its annual Business Excellence Awards — this time online due to the pandemic.

As various local businesses tune in on the night of Oct. 24 to learn whether they have been honoured, ballots will be counted across the province.

The results will reveal whether Premier John Horgan’s decision to call a snap election just a year out from the next scheduled vote was worthy of gold or a monumental gaffe.

Various pundits have weighed in via media outlets to offer their thoughts on a snap election call during a pandemic.

The opinions seem to range from “crass opportunism” to “wise move,” depending on where one stands on the NDP fan spectrum.

While there is little doubt the B.C. Liberals would be doing the same thing were they in the NDP’s shoes, the decision to go to the polls this fall should rankle those who still believe in that outdated notion of a person’s word being their bond.

Lest we forget, the only reason Horgan and the NDP are in a position to govern B.C. is because of a signed agreement between two parties.

With the B.C. Liberals and NDP neck and neck in seat numbers, the three Green MLAs had voting power to topple any minority government on a confidence motion.

The agreement between the NDP and Greens stated the Greens would not do so, as long as the NDP did not call an election before the legislated fixed-election date of Oct. 16 2021.

New Green Leader Sonia Furstenau confirmed this week that she told Horgan that agreement — signed when Andrew Weaver was Green leader — remained valid.

And, while Weaver left the Greens and sits as an independent MLA, he is on record as supporting Horgan and the NDP.

This minority government has been a minor miracle, governing for three years and, by most accounts, governing well.

There is no evident danger of it falling and the next election was only 13 months away when Horgan called a snap vote.

His explanation that B.C. needs a stable government with a mandate from the people to steer the Good Ship Lotusland through pandemic-infested waters can be translated into a party leader seeking power at any cost, including violating a signed agreement.

If a man’s word cannot be trusted, what is there left of his character to consider?

What should also anger voters is the cost to stage the election, which will be in excess of $40 million.

With the province’s bank account bleeding profusely from a $12.5 billion deficit this year alone, how does one suddenly find $40-million-plus to fund an entirely needless initiative?

It is as though debts and deficits do not matter and money can magically sprout anywhere, at any time.

Many will be wondering — if the powers-that-be can find tens of millions of dollars for this, why the heck are we organizing bottle drives to buy much-needed medical equipment for Royal Inland Hospital?

If a $40-million-plus power play is justified, why are people living on the streets?

If money, debt and deficit are no object — and, for Horgan and the NDP, they evidently aren’t — why can’t everybody have nice things?

Politics long ago crossed the crass line — and all parties in B.C. and across Canada are responsible.

In this case, we see that power does strange things to a person, the possibility of a four-year majority pushing aside honour, loyalty, commitment and all that other weak garbage.

editor@kamloopsthisweek.com

Twitter: @ChrisJFoulds

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