Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/6/2008 (2910 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
So the NDP has decided to drop
some of the more contentious, and quite frankly more curious, aspects of Bill 37, the overhaul of election and electoral financing introduced this spring by the NDP. No longer will the NDP government put a cap on non-election advertising by opposition parties, and the content of said advertising will no longer be vetted by a legislative committee dominated by the government of the day. All that leaves only one question.What the heck was the NDP thinking?Bill 37 arrived, for the most part, out of nowhere. It was sweeping - fixed election dates, new per-vote rebates, controls on political advertising - and seemed to imply there had been a lot of work done on it. But it was also clumsy and inexplicable in places. And it stirred such a hornet's nest of anger from the core critics of the NDP that it was hard to tell what Premier Gary Doer's
end game was.Now we have the spectre of a majority government being forced to drop parts of a hallmark bill after opposition parties and lobby groups threatened to gridlock the legislature with filibusters and delegations to committee hearings. (As an aside, parliamentary democracy rocks and the Tories should be congratulated for using the tools at their disposal to put a stamp on Bill 37.)Other questions now linger. Why was Bill 37 introduced in the spring with a plan to have it passed before the summer break? Did the NDP not anticipate the blowback on this one? And why in the world would Doer introduce the per-vote allowances when he above all would know that kind of largesse would galvanize his opponents.As is the case with Bill 38 - the amendments to the balanced budget law - Doer seems to be buying more trouble than he needs to. Dropping the requirement to balance the operating budget on an annual basis was silly unless you're going to repeal the whole law. Tweaking it only angers and unites your opponents.The premier's instincts have always been the NDP's strongest asset. One can only wonder now if those instincts are a bit off the mark right now.-30-