Canadians driving to the west coast will now have to travel through two provinces with NDP governments. It appears British Columbia will soon have an NDP government. In last month’s article in this publication, I stated B.C. had narrowly averted an Alberta-type disaster. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The B.C. election on May 9 did not really end until early June, dragging on with recounts and absentee ballots. Although the official results did not change, Liberals 43, NDP 41 and Greens 3, the NDP and the Greens have formally agreed to a coalition that will allow them to form a government. The Liberals will remain in power in name only, and will likely be defeated on the first vote in the legislature.
The NDP leader John Horgan, although he is not even premier yet, has wasted no time in starting the usual NDP destruction of the economy. In what can only be described as an astonishing act of left-wing arrogance, Mr. Horgan sent a letter to BC Hydro essentially saying the Site C project will now be subject to an independent review by the British Columbia Utilities Commission. This is a very odd thing to do as the Site C project is what the environmentalists have always been clamouring for: a clean energy project that will generate hydroelectricity rather than using nasty fossil fuels. It also employs a lot of people, but Mr. Horgan does not appear to notice this.
It is not clear to me how Mr. Horgan thinks B.C. will generate the power needed to run the province. Apparently he does not like hydroelectricity, and he clearly does not like Alberta fossil fuels as he is a strong opponent of any pipelines in B.C. This is reminiscent of Rachel Notley before she became premier of Alberta and faced the reality the Alberta economy depends crucially on fossil fuel development. Now she defends pipelines, although I personally doubt her sincerity. Here is something I never thought I would witness: the NDP premier in Alberta defending the Trans Mountain pipeline against the (soon-to-be) NDP premier in B.C. who is against it. Politics can be quite strange.
Delaying or even stopping further Site C development will prove costly to the B.C. government, and ultimately the B.C. economy will lose jobs. However, like Ms. Notley here in Alberta, NDP governments have never let the economy get in the way of idealism. Clearly this is only the beginning for Mr. Horgan. If he can remain in power long enough the B.C. economy will suffer badly. As I have said many times before, left-wing idealism is always detrimental to a well-functioning economy. In a recent meeting, I brought up this issue with some conservative friends, lamenting that voters never seem to remember the past. One of the participants summed this up by saying that rear-view mirrors aren’t as big as they used to be. Taking the analogy even further, another participant made reference to the cautionary note typically posted on rear-view mirrors: “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” Brad Wall must be thinking this in Saskatchewan at the moment.
Frank Atkins is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.