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June 13, 2017: Dave Sheldon with Manjot Hallen

Listen to the interview above or read the full transcript below.

Announcer:   

… with Dave Sheldon.

Dave Sheldon:

Manjot Hallen, my guest from Warnett Hallen LLP. Also, he’s part of the Liberal Party of Canada. He’s the president here of the BC Chapter Liberal Party of Canada. Manjot, I said before the break, from a constitutional or from a legal perspective, and this is why we (…) you in here, not that you are … Now, your expertise is not constitutional law, is it?

Manjot Hallen:  

No, it’s not. It’s personal injury law.

Dave Sheldon:

It’s personal injury law, exactly. Just so we’re clear on this, this is not legal advice that we’re giving you and, again, consult your local constitutional lawyer for this, but from your standpoint, is the Lieutenant Governor compelled to give Mr. Horgan to give her a chance because they have the 44-seat majority that is required? But like you said, with the slimmest of majorities like that, if one thing goes sideways, this whole thing goes into a handbasket. We’re doing it all over again. Do they let them do that, and then say, “Go back to the people and get me a firm mandate?” Can she do that as well?

Manjot Hallen:

You know what, Dave, you’re going to need a lot of different constitutional pinnings on a point like this, but practically speaking, I don’t think we’re going back to the polls at any time real soon. I think what’ll happen is Christy will be given an opportunity to present her throne speech when that feels and we expect it will and it’ll be a vote of non-confidence. Then the Lieutenant Governor will go to John Horgan and ask him to form a government. I suspect that that’s the process that’s going to be followed here. Can the Lieutenant Governor agree to an election? Yes, but I think under these circumstances with that agreement that the Green that the NDP have that that’s very unlikely.

Dave Sheldon: 

It’s stunning that we look at this as the slimmest of majorities. Normally, you have five or six seats to play with. In this particular case, you now have to worry about a speaker of the house. How does that work? How does that get taken care of? There’s all kind of machinations that have to happen here, so this is not quite done by any stretch, is it?

Manjot Hallen:      

That’s right, it’s not. Because the other thing is the speaker by convention typically has to vote with governing party, so what is that going to look like?

Dave Sheldon: 

Exactly.

Manjot Hallen:  

(…) the speaker-elect, and then, Christy gets a shot at presenting a throne speech, how is that going to play out?

Dave Sheldon:    

It’s going to be real interesting how that shakes down. Also, when I looked at what the Green Party NDP, there were a number of plans that they are diametrically opposed on where they have said that “We’ll bury some of our differences at this point and come to a consensus, or we could bitch and moan about the things that you’re going to talk about, but we’re not going to vote against them.”

Manjot Hallen:   

That’s right.

Dave Sheldon:                  

I find that to be incredibly compromising as far as your party is concerned when it comes to trying to make policy.

Manjot Hallen:  

Absolutely. You know, the one thing that struck me is the tolls. We spoke about this the last time I was on your show …

Dave Sheldon:

Yeah.

Manjot Hallen:   

… the tools, the amount of attraction they’ve had in this election. First off, I believe it led to a lot of the NDP seats (…) from the freezer.

Dave Sheldon:   

I agree.

Manjot Hallen:

Now, it’s become part of the agreement between the BC NDP and the Greens and it’s actually an area that they don’t agree on, so the Green had to sort of essentially roll over on this point and say, “Well, we’re okay with removing the tolls on the bridges.” But it just amazes me that that issue it permeates throughout the entire process, as in, now that issue itself can have a major impact on who’s going to form government.

Dave Sheldon:

Well, and now, you have a look at it from a standpoint as well of other aspects when … and I’ve said this since the whole conversation began about a coalition. What’s the one item that you die on? If you’re the Green Party, you’ve decided to agree on this supply and confidence agreement, so they’re going to make sure the budget is taken take of and any kind of confidence vote they won’t vote against. That’s their deal. But if they have something that they are fundamentally opposed to in the next four years, like you said, Manjot, do they have to swallow it? What does that do for their political currency for people that voted Green because they don’t want to vote NDP, and now, are siding with the NDP on platforms that they were diametrically opposed to?

I don’t see how this made any sense. I thought they were going to go issue-to-issue because I thought that that was a better way for them to cherry-pick what they want to get involved with, but still maintain their integrity and their plan.

Manjot Hallen:

Yeah, and the issue when I looked through their agreement and I’ve read it, I read the agreement last night. When I looked through their agreement, the issue that I see is the most difficult for them to achieve is having this referendum by the end of 2018 …

Dave Sheldon:

Yeah.

Manjot Hallen: 

… and proportion representation. I mean that’s going to be just, ah, just the logistics that go into that, so I can see the Green Party not being happy if that doesn’t come to fruition. It’s possible that it won’t by the end of 2018 and that could be what kill me better (…).

Dave Sheldon: 

Well, and ask yourself the question, what is the priority? Is the priority affordability or is it proportional representation? It’s something that we deal with once every four years. That, to me, is the biggest single problem. Let me get this right, so one of your big stumbling blocks moving forward will be exactly how we mete out the votes and who gets what seat four years from now, when I need to deal with the (…) affordability, transportation, health care, infrastructure? I mean all kinds of different things that are coming up here and you’re going to talk to me about proportional representation? The priority is totally misaligned at this point.

Manjot Hallen:

Yeah, that would be completely misaligned. The priority should be affordability. They should be dealing with affordability when it comes to housing. They should be dealing with transportation. They should be dealing with issues that matter to British Columbia, and so, not how we’re going to sort up the next election. But based on what I’ve heard Dr. Weaver say in the past, it appears that that is a big priority to him and that is one. When I look at the agreement, it looks like that is a point that they may not be able to follow through on.

Dave Sheldon:                  

No, they won’t be. Manjot Hallen, my guest here. We’re having a conversation about a number of different things involving the BC provincial election, federal politics as well. I look at Site C and they’re going to put that through review now, if I’m correct on that, Manjot, and I find it intriguing about that as well because it was such a hot button issue for the Green Party to stick it in in Site C. Again, what happens now if they get to Site C and they do review on it and they find that there’s a shred of economic viability in Site C, are we going to take economic politics over environment politics with the Green Party? Again, I find it’s intriguing to me that we’re having a conversation about the policies of party that achieved just 16% of the mandate in the province of British Columbia.

Manjot Hallen:   

I agree. It’s amazing. It’s amazing and there’s so many points here whether this agreement could stay up. Like you said earlier, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens. I think the first step is to see what’s going to happen with respect to the throne speech and the election of a speaker. I think a lot of people are overlooking that. That’s going to really make a big difference in how this all plays out in the coming weeks.

Dave Sheldon:  

Okay. Before I let you go, I’m going to put you on the spot a little bit. I’m going to say to you, okay, if you had to go into your crystal ball and figure out what you’re going to see in the next month or so, what do you think will happen? Do you think it’ll play out that way that it’s going to be like right now where Christy goes in, throne speech, gets defeated, they bring in Horgan and we run (…) government? Is that what do you think could happen?

Manjot Hallen:                 

Yeah. I think that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Christy is going to have a opportunity, throne speech is not going to pass. Lieutenant Governor is going to ask Horgan to form government. They’re going to have a tenuous coalition. It’ll survive six months to a year and we’ll be back to the polls after that.

Dave Sheldon:                  

So six months to a year from now, we’re going to be doing this all over again, despite the fact these two jokers said that they’re going to go four years. I guess we’ll …

Manjot Hallen:                 

Yeah. That’s my prediction.

Dave Sheldon:                  

I don’t think you’re wrong. I’ve had a number of people say that, including people who voted NDP on this program saying that they don’t believe it will last any more than a year. Manjot, really appreciate your time this morning. Thanks so much for taking part in the conversation. We’ll have you on again soon.

Manjot Hallen:                 

Great. Thanks, Dave. Thank you.

Dave Sheldon:                  

All the best. You bet. Manjot Hallen from Warnett Hallen LLP. Also, he is the Liberal President for the … the President of the Liberal Party of Canada, BC (…). All right. 8:26 here on the program and I’ll tell you right now … In fact, I’m ending this right now, Chris.