Saturday, November 20, 2010

Duelling Dysfunction!

Only in British Columbia it seems could both political options appear totally dysfunctional at the same time, but in a most fascinating week for BC Politics, British Columbians across the province may be wondering more than aloud if anyone in Victoria has an idea as to what they are doing anymore.

The Liberals, currently claiming front page space and news broadcast headline status for the internal difficulties, went one more step today towards a potential civil war, by kicking one time Energy Minister Bill Bennett out the party's caucus in Victoria.

Apparently not happy that he aired some of their dirty laundry in a very public press conference, and maybe just a little embarrassed that he highlighted his impressions as to the stern authoritative nature of Premier Campbell, the Liberals tossed him out today, relegating him to the suddenly growing co-operative in Victoria known as the Independents.

The section of the Legislature where the politically dispossessed seem to be piling up of late, Mr. Bennett now joining former NDP caucus member Bob Simpson,  as spurned by their fellow legislators.

Cast aside for daring to speak their minds and perhaps shining some light on a few leadership flaws in both parties, the subjects of a crack of the authority whip while both the NDP and Liberals fight on to keep some semblance of order within their ranks.

Interestingly enough, word of Mr. Bennett's banishment comes forward today at the same time as some Liberal party members are apparently urging him to give consideration for a run for the party's leadership in February.

If so, it would seem that not all Liberals share the thought process of the elected members at the Legislature, something that will most likely prove to be even more divisive as the Liberals begin the path towards selecting Mr. Campbell's replacement.

Over at the other team of dysfunction, the NDP gather this weekend in conference, where we imagine once again the topic of Mr. Simpson's forced march out of caucus will be reviewed.

A discussion that will now feature a new addendum to the topic sheet, that of the resignation of the party's whip yesterday, as NDP MLA Katrine Conroy decided she could no longer hold her position under the leadership of Carole James.

Ms. James for her part, suggested that a few of these malcontents have but one wish, that being the destruction of the party, a topic that will most likely come to a boil over this weekend.

Though the idea that her fellow party members by expressing their dis-satisfaction with a particular  style of leadership are somehow out to destroy the party seems a tad outlandish and may perhaps paint Ms. James into a corner of which there is no exit.

Perhaps, what those thoughts represent is a review of the success of the leader thus far and the prospect of heading into the next election with that lack of resonance with the British Columbia voter. A situation that would seem ready made for any new Liberal leader to take advantage of.

One wonders how many of the "disgruntled" may receive the same treatment as that of the Cariboo North MLA of last month?

At the rate of exile currently in place in Victoria, by the time the next election rolls, the loosely collected and growing gathering of Independents could very well be the only party of cohesion that the province has.

British Columbia always seems to provide some fascinating political theatre from time to time, none more so than the recent developments for both
parties at the Legislature.

CKNW's Bill Good provided the much needed recap of the weeks events with his political panel of Vaughn Palmer and Keith Baldry today, outlining the rather remarkable string of events that continue to rattle around Victoria as the weekend settles in. You can listed to the program on the audio vault feature of the CKNW website, or download the podcast for the program. You are looking for the 9 to 10 am hour for Friday.

You can also review the latest developments of of our dysfunctional pols, as political reporters and pundits weigh in on a most bizarre week of politics in BC.

Vancouver Sun-- If James is going down, she'll go down fighting
Vancouver Sun-- Carole James draws line in the sand on leadership
Vancouver Sun-- Carole James calls for a Saturday showdown with party dissidents
Vancouver Sun-- Carole James press conference audio "It's on"'
Vancouver Sun-- NDP riding officials want to oust James
Vancouver Sun-- NDP provincial council meets for do-or-die moment of reckoning
Vancouver Province-- Bennett's tirade fuels the Liberals' death spiral
Victoria Times Colonist-- Why Bill Bennett should be heeded
Globe and Mail-- NDP Leader puts her job on the line
CBC News-- Big-name B.C. NDP members sign on for James B.C. NDP female MLAs demolish Carole James-Gary Mason spin campaign
The Tyee-- Former NDP MLAs voice support for James' leadership
The Tyee-- BC NDP whip's resignation exposes cracks in opposition 
The Tyee-- Poll finds Liberal-NDP gap narrowing in BC 
Public Eye-- James takes a shot before showdown 
Public Eye-- The silence of solidarity

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