Now what? Election puts BC into political parts unknown

Cesar Mills
May 19, 2017

BC Liberal Party leader Christy Clark will remain in charge of this province despite her party clinching a minority government, with recounts possible in some close ridings.

The overwhelming majority of British Columbians voted for change - and now it's up to the New Democratic and Green parties to deliver it - by defeating the B.C. Liberals and throwing Clark out of office.

A tight race in Courtenay-Comox could also change the vote spread, which now sits at 43 seats for the Liberals, 41 for the NDP and three for the Greens.

"I'm prepared to work with anyone who wants a better B.C.", Horgan said. She pointed out Weaver is a supporter of the Liberals' position to ban thermal coal.

He did not explicitly say if he would ask Weaver to form a coalition government, however. She also backed Weaver in a bill that tackles sexual violence on post-secondary campuses.

Christy Clark told reporters on Tuesday that she'd met with the lieutenant-governor and been asked to continue on as Wednesday, and that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had called to congratulate her.

Looking at seats the NDP picked up where the Green vote - if it went entirely Liberal - could have turned the race, the NDP gained in all but two, Burnaby North and Courtenay-Comox.

"British Columbians sent a very strong message to all sides of the legislature".

The NDP ran on a promise to make life more affordable for British Columbians by scrapping tolls on two busy bridges in Metro Vancouver, implementing $10-a-day childcare and creating an annual $400 subsidy for renters.

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Horgan spoke to Weaver on election night and he said they both agreed the Liberals failed British Columbians in several areas, including housing, child care and protection of the coast from oil tanker traffic.

"My focus is on the people of British Columbia and if Mr. Weaver and others want to join with me, I am happy to do that".

Horgan repeated several times during the news conference that the Liberals did not win a majority and that nearly 60 per cent of voters cast ballots for the NDP and Greens.

It could take several weeks before the final seat count is confirmed, once absentee votes are counted and any judicial recounts are conducted.

"I've had a good relationship in working with Dr. Weaver in the past", she said. The B.C. Liberals have only committed to striking an independent committee to study the issue, while the NDP campaigned on ending the "wild west" of large contributions to parties from unions and corporations. The Liberals could attempt to govern on their own, and negotiate on an issue-by-issue basis with opposition parties-including the Greens, who would hold the balance of power-or they could attempt to form a (possibly more stable) governing coalition that invites MLAs from another party-again, likely the Greens-into the provincial cabinet.

"We understand what compromise means and we're willing to compromise, of course", Weaver said. In the B.C. election, a party needed 44 out of 87 seats to win a majority mandate.

And, Harrison added, the current government has not released the details of the agreement with Kinder Morgan so we don't know what financial penalties might be written into it in the event a government attempt to withdraw.

"It would be premature for Adam (Olsen), Sonia (Furstenau) and I to exclude anything at this point". We both agreed that education is our top priority as we reaffirmed in our platform.

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