Published: Tue, May 23, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Connelly: Greens may hold balance of power in tight British Columbia election

The party took several Liberal ridings in the city of Vancouver and won a handful of battleground ridings in the suburbs of Metro Vancouver, including seats in Surrey, Coquitlam and Delta.

It will be exciting all right, and it could even work out in favour of the party that has run British Columbia for 16 years.

Weaver has proven himself to be a pragmatist who has supported Liberal budgets - something Horgan criticized him over. Since then, Mr. Weaver, an internationally acclaimed climate scientist, and his party have had their eye on gains that were just beyond their grasp in 2013, a lot of them on Vancouver Island.

With more than 176,000 absentee ballots still to be counted by Elections BC, final totals are due by May 24.

Richard Johnston, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia, said he doesn't expect negotiations on the possible framework of a minority government to start until after the final results are known.

By the end of the night, the B.C. Liberals had 43 seats, one shy of the number needed for a majority government.

While students that took part in the mock vote are not of legal voting age, it still shows how they would like to be represented provincially.

The results mark new territory for the Green Party, which has never had more than a single member elected to a Canadian legislature.

Following the stunning result, Weaver made sure he spoke over the phone with both NDP Leader John Horgan and Clark.

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Local students elected NDP incumbent Katrine Conroy with 46.59 per cent of the vote, while Sam Tory, BC Green Party candidate received 32.16 per cent of the vote, and Jim Postnikoff, BC Liberal Party candidate, received 21.25 per cent of the vote. 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.

"Christy Clark as the sitting premier will have the first crack at forming a government".

Party leader Andrew Weaver wasn't giving any indication which of his rivals would get support from the Greens to form a minority government.

"To those voters not yet decided, join with us, come together and let's create a better B.C.", he said at a campaign stop in Surrey. Horgan said funding for the plan was sound.

The NDP accuses the Liberals of dragging their feet on political fundraising by failing to back bills in the legislature that would have banned donations from the corporate and labour sectors.

Angolano said that electoral precedent has been set previously in Ontario in the 1980s with the NDP propping up a Liberal provincial government, and federally when the NDP stood behind the Pierre Trudeau government in 1974. He could extract a promise that the Liberals would act on some key Green policies - like limits on corporate and union campaign donations. "We exist because the other parties aren't offering something ..."

It has been four years since Clark promised the province a potentially trillion dollar LNG industry. The Green Party won three seats, but is now poised to have disproportionate sway.

A fifth straight victory for the BC Liberals would make Clark the first woman to be re-elected premier in Canadian history.

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