Call It A Coalition

May 30th, 2017 | R. Rados
bc election

The pundit class has started a game of semantics. You know the pundit class, right? They're those guys and gals that get paid to stand in front of a camera and give their two cents on political issues. In this case, they're all bent out of shape about the word coalition and how it pertains to what just happened in BC. Classically, or traditionally, or conventionally, or usually, or commonly, or whatever, a coalition in Westminster politics means that members from both parties have cabinet positions in a “coalition government”. That means that both parties get to guide policies. However, the pundit class and the political “experts” have been quick to point out that the alliance between Horgan and Weaver in BC is not a coalition. This is where it gets super funny.


The person who really wants you to believe he, or his MLAs, will have very limited influence on NDP policy or future budgets is Andrew Weaver, the leader of the BC Greens. It's been Weaver who has been most adamant about not calling his coalition a coalition. Politically, if he calls it a coalition, it would sound too much like he's massacring the Green Party platform and selling out to the NDP. Instead, he wants to maintain the illusion that the Greens will only be sitting on the sidelines and policing Horgan's NDP while promising not to pull the plug. This entire charade is almost too funny to be taken seriously.


Leave it to the nerds to fall right into the semantics trap being played by Weaver and the media. “It's not a coalition,” they say. So what is it then? Good question. The CBC called it an “alliance” and an “agreement” in two separate articles. Other journalists and pundits have tried to be more creative by calling it an “accord”. I mean, what else can you call it if you aren't allowed to say “coalition”? Watching the leftist professors and their lapdogs in the pundit class hop and jump around “coalition” is like watching grade-schoolers play dodge ball. It's also sad watching them do exactly what Weaver and Horgan want them to.


Not having a seat in cabinet doesn't give Andrew Weaver any less influence over policy. Weaver and Horgan went into a closed room somewhere and Weaver said, “A lot of my supporters hate you John, so let's make this look less like a coalition...you know, for optics.” Horgan then made several concessions in order to get Weaver to agree. Weaver said, “You have to do this, this, this and this, or there's no agreement.” Horgan, being the power starved shitbird he is, agreed. That makes this “accord” almost no different than a classic, technical coalition. Andrew Weaver just doesn't want us to call it a coalition for political reasons.  

To avoid being called idiots, almost every journalist and pundit has complied with Weaver's request to not call this a coalition. That explains the weird dances they've been doing to avoid using the word, even though the "agreement" feels, smells and looks like a coalition. In exchange for keeping power, the NDP will comply with Weaver's demands or collapse under a no-confidence vote. If that's not a direct dictation of NDP policy, then giraffes might as well be alligators.


Andrew Weaver gave up a cabinet post or two to make it look like his party wasn't melting together with the NDP, or as he says, he wanted to ensure that the Green platform stayed true to itself and that he wasn't handcuffed. A lot of Greens hate Horgan, so it would be bad optics to have Greens sitting in a NDP cabinet led by John Horgan. The other advantage for Weaver is an easy way out if the Horgan government becomes unpopular. It would allow Weaver to pretend he had nothing to do with any of the failed policies.


But really, he gave up a cabinet post because he doesn't really need one. All of what we're seeing play out in BC is political theatre. The NDP made concessions to form government, Weaver laid out his demands, they agreed on some issues, and a coalition was formed. Weaver will have a say in future NDP policies and budgets with the appearance of merely spectating and policing from the sidelines when it's convenient, or if the Horgan government becomes unpopular. The whole thing is a ruse and the media fell for it.


It's important to call it a coalition because Andrew Weaver and John Horgan don't want us to call it a coalition. More importantly, it basically is the closest thing to a traditional coalition we've seen in Canada. Two minority parties have united to form a government, which would otherwise be impossible. It's foolish to think that John Horgan will govern alone, when his entire fate rests in the hands of three Green Party MLAs. Let's get real and start calling this goofy accord, or agreement, or alliance, or friendship—or whatever—what it really is: a coalition.