A climate-denying former Dragon’s Den panelist, Order of Canada advisory council member, and part-owner of the Nashville Predators hockey team may have skated a bit close to a Criminal Code violation over the weekend, suggesting that his Twitter followers raise funds to encourage a couple of NDP legislators in British Columbia to cross the floor.
“Idea – am thinking we should just pay a couple of folks from #PremierHorgan @NDP team to cross the floor & give power back to the people of #BritishColumbia,” Calgary business owner W. Brett Wilson tweeted. “I am in for $10,000. Should almost be enough eh? DM me to arrange.”
The tweet was enough to trigger a LeadNow petition calling on Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to drop Wilson from her Order of Canada advisory committee. [Editor’s note: “Should almost be enough, eh? Click the petition link to arrange.”]
“Canadians value freedom of expression and our ability to engage in political discourse,” writes petition author Wes Regan, “but with freedom to express our views we are also told come responsibility and accountability for what we say.”
Regan notes that Wilson also distinguished himself last month by opining that Kinder Morgan pipeline opponents should be “hanged for treason”.
And even that wasn’t Wilson’s first foray into Twitter controversy. In 2013, he tweeted that “my concern with #ClimateChange is the view that the ‘science is proven’ – I want full facts/debate,” long after that debate was settled. “Wilson accepts that the climate is changing, but questions the scientific consensus that human activities are the sole or major cause of this,” The Georgia Straight reports.
In the Straight, Editor Charlie Smith itemizes the Criminal Code violations and up to 14-year prison terms that would result if an MLA or would-be buyer took Wilson up on his suggestion. Smith stresses that “there’s no evidence whatsoever that Wilson has given any money to any B.C. NDP MLA to cross the floor, strongly suggesting that this law has not been violated by his tweet.”
The article also includes a link to a Criminal Code offence for “counselling an offence that is not committed,” as well as pertinent provisions of B.C.’s Members’ Conflict of Interest Act.
B.C.’s minority government current holds power with 42 New Democrats, 41 Liberals, and three Greens in the legislature. Two New Democrats switching parties would be enough to bring down the government. The government of former Liberal premier Christy Clark ultimately supported Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
As a member of the advisory council, Wilson helps review 600 to 800 Order of Canada nominations per year with Payette.