Two years ago the government of B.C., then dependent on a New Democratic parliamentary coalition with the Greens, commissioned an expert report into the possibility of a basic guaranteed income for residents of the province. This was a gesture toward meeting a Green demand for basic-income research. If you go back and look at the public confidence-and-supply agreement the parties signed, it specifically requires that B.C. “design and implement a basic income pilot” and fund it in the NDP’s first budget.
We have since all seen how little the text of the B.C. orange-green pact counted for when it came to electoral reform. And, of course, the New Democrats have since gained a clear majority through a snap election — one that the text of the pact obligated them not to call. It turns out that, having broken the agreement, Premier John Horgan was no longer bound by it.
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If you wondered why supply-and-confidence arrangements in legislatures with no majority usually don’t involve an extensive written contract of this nature, you can now just go ask the B.C. Greens. The pact, when signed by Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver — who has since fled electoral politics, desperately trying to scrub off its cynical stench as he ran — was hailed as a momentous evolutionary step in Westminsterian government-formation. Sometimes evolution goes down a dead end.