Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok is living in interesting political times. It was an eventful year in B.C. politics and there is more to come in 2019.
First of all, there was the electoral reform referendum, and although Clovechok’s BC Liberals were on the winning side in that outcome, he says it’s not something he can forget.
“I’m not gloating,” he said. “I was clear from the beginning that I don’t oppose discussion on electoral reform. I was opposed to the way the NDP rolled it out in such a confusing way. Dave Eby (Attorney General) recently said Pro Rep was doomed to fail. Well, it was doomed, why do it? The referendum cost $15 million. British Columbians spoke clearly, but 42 per cent of people in Columbia River Revelstoke were looking for change. You can’t ignore that.”
Clovechok says he wants to engage with those who voted for change.
“How can I find ways to make people feel more included? I don’t care what party you voted for, or if you voted at all, if you come to my office for help, I am your MLA.
“Some people in my riding were looking for change, and I don’t think discussion around electoral reform is dead. It is a movement in this country. First Past the Post has served us well, but we have to have reform in the back of mind.”
The legislature returns to session right after the BC Family Day weekend in February, but there is a by-election looming on the landscape that could affect the configuration of the Legislature before it sits.
Clovechok thinks the BC Liberals have a reasonable chance to win in Nanaimo, and if they do, he predicts the Horgan government will fall.
If the B.C. Liberals win that seat, the Legislature is deadlocked at 43 seats.
“The Speaker would vote to break ties, and traditionally the Speaker votes with the government, but it will be gridlock. If we win Nanaimo, I predict an election by June.”
Conversely, Clovechok says if the NDP take the riding, or even the Greens, he doesn’t see an election before 2021.
“The Greens aren’t going to bring down the government. They would lose their influence.”
A recall campaign against Speaker Darryl Plecas could also make things interesting, Clovechok says.
Locally, Clovechok is meeting next week with Mayor Don McCormick and Fire Chief Rick Prasad and the Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development people.
The plan is to talk about the past fire season and the $1.8 million in infrastructure work the City has applied for.
New funding formulas have spread the same amount of infrastructure funding over a wider area, and there is concern that there are not enough funds to go around