Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

BC elects a minority Liberal government


The 2017 provincial election will be remembered as a great night for the BC Green Party.

Clark's party won 43 seats while the NDP led by John Horgan collected 41 and the Greens under Andrew Weaver won three ridings in the 87-seat legislature.

With three seats, the Green party holds the balance of power in the legislature - a remarkable position for Weaver after becoming the first Green elected four years ago.

A few other close races could also hinge on the still-to-come count of absentee ballots.

He did suggest that the NDP and the Green Party may find common ground on two files in particular - banning corporate and union donations, and electoral reform.

Clark said she intends to lead the next government, adding the result presents an opportunity to open up a new dialogue "about how we do things, what we should do, how we want to shape the future of our province".

If Clark can't maintain the confidence of the legislature, Guichon could invite the opposition parties to attempt to form their own government-or she could dissolve the legislature and drop the writ on a new election. "We know how to compromise, and we are looking forward to that".

During his non-concession, non-victory speech late Tuesday night, he encouraged supporters to "hang tight" until all the absentee and mail-in ballots are counted and said the majority of British Columbians voted for change.

Horgan did not take questions from reporters, however, so the one question on everyone's minds went unanswered: Could he work with the Green Party to form a coalition that would deny the Liberals governing power? "We exist because the other parties aren't offering something ..."

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But Weaver's platform contains certain key planks that align more with the NDP than the Liberals - universal child care, for example, aggressive measures on housing affordability, higher carbon tax increases and support for public transit funding that doesn't include the replacement of the George Massey Tunnel with a bridge.

"I've had a good relationship in working with Dr. Weaver in the past", she said.

The seat count creates the conditions for a minority government, in which the Liberals would take the most seats and the Greens would hold the balance of power. It wasn't going to happen then, it's not going to happen now. He told voters his party is the only one offering something that's different on climate change and on preparing the province for a new economy spurred by technological change.

"Constitutionally, the federal government might have the upper hand. but the BC government could force significant delays", he said.

He suggested he saw no reasons why a minority government "can't last a full term" of four years.

The B.C. Liberals are the party that approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which is set to start construction in the fall.

"If you're putting people first, that doesn't matter", he said. But nonetheless, signals of uncertainty and unpredictability scare away investors.

One day ahead of the provincial election Tuesday, students cast ballots in a Student Vote parallel election put on by CIVIX, a national registered charity dedicated to building citizenship skills among young Canadians. "There's still 176,000 seconds on the clock and I'm going to wait to see what the final outcome is".

"But to do that, he has to back the loser", said Johnston.

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