What to expect from Horgan and Wilkinson in the great debate

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
November 7, 2018 - 4:59am Updated: November 7, 2018 - 10:29am

KAMLOOPS — THE DEBATE NOBODY EXPECTED to happen is set for Thursday night at 7 p.m. on Global and CBC TV and radio and it should be a corker.

I’m actually surprised Premier John Horgan accepted Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson’s challenge to square off over proportional representation. He doesn’t have much to win at this point, having done everything in his power to make sure prop rep has an edge, so why’s he doing it?

Maybe he’s confident he can out-talk Wilkinson. He’s certainly the better debater, as his performance in the Legislature clearly shows Mondays through Thursdays. He loves to bluster and be sarcastic, and has no problem simply ignoring questions he doesn’t like.

Wilkinson, on the other hand, is a plodder, lacking the zest and quick comebacks for which his opponent is so well-known.

Some commentators are urging the two leaders to provide a balanced, analytical examination of the decision before us.

Fat chance.

What we can expect is that Wilkinson will focus heavily on what he sees as the injustice of the referendum process and on the indecipherable complexities of the three options for prop rep.

Horgan, on the other hand, can be expected to stay clear of trying to explain any of the three prop rep systems.

When even Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark isn’t sure how prop rep is supposed to work, it’s better to stick to the old “40 per cent of the votes should equal…..” etc. etc.

The media are fond of looking for what they like to call the “knockout punch,” but I doubt there will be one tomorrow night.

What it will accomplish, though, is to remind us all that we’d better round up that referendum package that came in the mail a couple of weeks ago and send in our ballots. Since less than three per cent of the ballot packages have been returned from the ridings around Kamloops so far, anything will help.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.