“When Two Men Ride a Horse – One Must Ride Behind”

(with changes to orignal final paragraphs)

There’s an old proverb: “When two men ride a horse, one must ride behind.”  Green Party leader Andrew Weaver should have it framed and prominently displayed in his office as a constant reminder of where he sits on NDP Leader John Horgan’s political mount.

It’s right behind Horgan who controls the animal and has a tendency to pull hard on the bit when his temper’s on edge. Weaver may feel comfortable, but he shouldn’t. He’s just along for the ride and has no idea where it’s heading or whether it will be at cautious trot or reckless gallop when dismount could be hazardous.

He should be having some concern already, although the tandem riders have barely started on their single common-cause mission to bring down the Liberal government as soon as possible after the Legislature convenes on June 22.

Rider Horgan was in full skimble-skamble style a few days ago when my local newspaper quoted him chanting his favourite riding song since the May 9 vote when, as the Horgan song goes, the electorate “voted overwhelmingly to replace” Christy Clark and the Liberal government.

If a 43-seat victory was “overwhelming rejection” for Clark, what would you call 41 for Horgan’s NDP and three for Weaver’s Greens?

Both riders on the Horgan-Weaver hybrid would better spend their time figuring out what they’re going to do if Premier Clark hobbles their horse in the Throne Speech on the 22nd. That’s the speech and following debate Horgan and Weaver can’t wait to end to enable them to dramatically move their non-confidence motion and topple the Liberals.

I wonder if they’re rehearsing that dramatic moment with Horgan making the motion and Weaver obediently seconding it from the rump? And, I wonder if they’re considering what could go wrong to spoil the day when three MLAs fire one government and replace it with another?

Let me offer one scenario. Christy Clark, love her or hate her, is tough. She’s one of those women described by Shakespeare: “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” She is also astutely clever politically.

A Throne Speech is traditionally a government’s shopping list for the next year and beyond. While read by the Lieutenant Governor, it is a government promissory note. Consider the position of jockey Horgan and easy rider Weaver if the June 22 Throne Speech is jammed with good things – including more than a few long coveted by NDP and Greens.

That they would scream foul is a given – but would they vote against programs and policies long demanded and now within reach? Could they be faced with a Throne Speech and following Budget it would be political suicide to reject? Could the mount they are both riding collapse under the weight of their expansive sometimes arrogant egos as the back-seat rider becomes aware how uncomfortable his position has become even before they cross the finish line?

We shall find out on June 22 or a few debate days later. While waiting, it might be wise for Weaver to consider returning to his well trusted, balanced and dependable Green riding colours horse to ride into the future – and for Horgan to seek another windmill at which to tilt if things go south.


  1. Here’s the thing Jim…..You gotta have a horse for two of them to ride first…You would be first to agree with me that it isn’t a done deal yet…. I feel it is possible that in the selection of The Speaker the two sides could trip over themselves and the LG would have no choice but to conclude that nothing looked like “stable government” to her. Then she would be forced to agree to a suggestion by Ms. Clark that the electorate be re-consulted. Right???…..to be clear…I would like a new government and I would be keen to see Horgan and Weaver get on that ‘horse’ and attempt to figure out how to ride it…..but we’re not quite there yet are we?
    By the way…my view is that if the BC LIBERALS brain trust think they would do better the second time around with the public at the ballot box….I think they would be wrong. Nothing to back that up…accept
    a gut feeling.
    Thanks for the column…..

  2. Well stated Jim,hope to hear your ongoing analysis as summer Goes on, Cheer Pete & Alice Chiko Sent from my iPad


  3. It will be very interesting, if politicians were honorable people they should not need a signed agreement but let the chips fall where they may, but we don’t need another election to soon

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