Thursday, April 28, 2016

How is three terms effecting the 16 NDP MLAs that have only been in opposition?

The NDP in BC has almost become a long term institutional official opposition in BC.   19 of the current NDP MLAs are now come to the end of their third term in opposition.  16 of these MLAs have never served in government

While the NDP has been in opposition since 2001, none of the three NDP MLAs that served at some point between 2001 and 2005 are in the legislature.   Three of current NDP MLAs served in th 1991-2001 NDP goverment - Sue Hammell, Mike Farnworth and Leonard Krog.   But there are 16 MLAs that have served in opposition for 11 years now

The 14 following MLAs entered legislature in the 2005 election:

  • Robin Austin
  • Harry Bains
  • Raj Chouhan
  • Katrine Conroy
  • Adian Dix
  • Rob Flemming
  • Scott Fraser
  • John Horgan
  • Carole James
  • Maurine Karagianis
  • Norm Macdonald
  • Bruce Ralston
  • Doug Routley
  • Nicholas Simons
  • Shane Simpson
  • Claire Trevena

John Horgan and Adrian Dix both held senior political jobs with the 1991 to 2001 NDP government.

Three terms is a long time to be waiting to be in government when you are in the official opposition.   As a continuous group in opposition in BC this is by far the largest ever seen.  This group of 16 MLAs is unprecedented in BC history.

In the last NDP dry spell of 1975 to 1991 only had one MLA served all the way through it, Emery Barnes but he had done a term in government in 1972-75.   The only MLA in that era that served as long in opposition as the current group of 16 was Gordon Hanson who was first elected in 1979.

So far none of these MLAs have stated they will be retiring which means all 16 MLAs could be re-elected next year.   One has to wonder how these MLAs maintain their motivation.   Could this large constant group of MLAs in opposition dose the fire in the belly of all the MLAs in Victoria?   Have they become an institutionalized old guard comfortable with opposition?    

It is probably not healthy for the NDP to have 46% of their caucus having served for so long in opposition.    Whatever the outcome of the 2017 election, the NDP needs to have a lot more new blood running in the election.  No matter how good these MLAs are it is likely time for most of them to retire.

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