The Liberal’s recently completed selection of a new Leader to replace Christy Clark presented the Liberal party with the opportunity to explore the issues – and their consequences if not addresses – facing BC and to explore ideas and options for addressing the issues challenging BC’s future
Issues that include healthcare, homelessness, addiction, housing affordability, liveable wages and other social issues as well as government finances [vis-à-vis the services British Columbians demand] and the economic barriers to a prosperous future for BC and its citizens.
The Liberals did not simply duck the opportunity to explore the issues, obstacles, options and the best choices for balanced action – they dove for cover and huddled there with their heads down.
I am not sure if the Liberals are in deep wilful denial about fundamental economic changes resulting in an economy distinctly different from the economy born post WW II, or simply do not have a clue as to Reality of the nature of the current BC economy.
But the nature and conduct of the race to become leader and the result of the race make it clear that it is either/or……. unless the Liberals have become nihilistic.
Both the Liberal decision to choose Oxford lawyer Andrew Wilkinson the MLA for the wealthy riding of Vancouver Quadra as leader and Mr. Wilkinson’s words following being chosen leader make it clear the focus of the Liberal party remains winning elections not on good governance and the future well being of BC and its citizens – or at least the well being of the substantial majority of BC’s non-corporate citizens.
The fact both the candidates and the party dove for cover on important but unpopular topics is why I don’t refer to the process employed by the Liberals to find their new Leader as a leadership race.
Leadership is inspiring others to perform and engage in achieving a goal and/or dealing with issues. It involves stepping up to face and deal with issues and difficult situations by thinking and acting creatively. It also involves establishing a clear vision, sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly, providing the information, knowledge and methods to realize that vision, and coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders.
Leading a political party is about politics and winning elections while political leadership is about statesmanship.
A politician thinks of the next election, a statesman, of the next generation. J. F. Clark
Despite claims by both society and voters to be tired of getting politicians who make promises they are either unwilling or unable to keep and to want statesmen, voters continue to reward politicians who tell the voters what the voters demand to hear by voting for them.
And to punish those who tell voters what they need to hear, who uphold what is right regardless of the popularity of the position and who promote the general good rather than special interest or personal self-interest by not voting for them.
Whereupon the voters deny any responsibility for the government they get because the politicians lied to them, ignoring the fact that voters have trained politician’s behaviour and are responsible for the behaviour of politicians.
The decision of the Liberal party and its new leader to steer clear of statesmanship, join the voters in the illusionary land created by the wilful denial of disagreeable reality, pursuing politics as usual, focusing on playing politics and winning elections is understandable in light of the fact that the likelihood of voters in BC supporting a party that chooses to focus on good governance and the future financial/wealth/economic wellbeing of BC citizens rather than pursuing political popularity by telling citizens what they want to hear, is vanishingly small.
The downside for the Liberals is that at some point in the near future the costs and consequences of the increasing divergence between the no longer in existence post WW II economy that BC’s politicians use for planning and act upon and the new economy give birth by all the fundamental economic changes as well as the costs and consequences of not dealing with healthcare, housing, homelessness, addiction, education and other issues will come due.