Editorial: Be careful what you wish for

In politics, things take much longer to happen than you think they will, and then they happen much faster than you thought they would.

New Democratic Premier John Horgan would do well to remember this line borrowed from the late German economist Rudi Dornbush.

The New Democrats certainly know a thing or two about waiting. Since their emergence as a modern-era party in the early 1960s, they have had few and far between opportunities to govern. This present turn is their third after 16 years in the political wilderness.

This exile dates back to 2001, the last year of a 10-year-tenure in office that had started with so much promise, only to end with the near extinction of the party following years of silly shanigians and genuine scandals that dearly cost B.C. in both reputation and revenue.

This ‘lost decade’ still hung over the New Democrats as they sought to unseat the B.C. Liberals in this year’s provincial election and its muddled outcome speaks to the weary memories of voters: they were itching for change, but unwilling to invest the New Democrats with the full range of powers and spoils that the Westminster system offers.

Accordingly, they placed New Democrats in the probationary limbo of a minority government with Andrew Weaver as their political parole officer. He, and only he, will ultimately determine the fate of the cabinet members that swore their office oaths Tuesday and it must surely rankle some old faithfuls that this rare moment of triumph came courtesy of an ideological movement, with which the last NDP government once warred in the woods of Clayoquot Sound.

This said, critics of the government do themselves an intellectual disservice by questioning its legitimacy. It came to power fair and square following a vote of non-confidence and deserves every chance to try its hand. But its margin for mistakes is small. Raging wildfires across this government are already testing this government and other threats to the existing order are already approaching quickly.

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