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B.C. vote count completed, May 31 deadline set for formation of next government

The Council of Canadians Vancouver-Burnaby chapter at a protest against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, May 2016.

It looks like British Columbia could now be on the cusp of a much-needed change in its provincial government.

The Globe and Mail reports, “With all the ballots from the May 9 election officially in, B.C. Premier Christy Clark has been denied a majority government after the Liberals’ hope for recapturing one more seat evaporated on Wednesday [May 24]. After three days of recounting ballots in two ridings, and adding in previously unopened absentee ballots across the province, Elections BC’s results showed no change in seat numbers for each of the three parties in the May 9 election – 43 Liberal, 41 NDP and 3 Green.” Forty-four seats are required to form a majority government.

Notably, the popular vote tightened slightly from the original count on election night – the Liberals now have 40.36 per cent of the vote (down from 40.84 per cent), the NDP have 40.28 per cent of the vote (up from 39.86 per cent), and the Greens have 16.84 per cent of the vote (up from 16.75 per cent).

The Globe and Mail adds, “Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver has been facing increasing pressure from progressive advocacy groups to reject a pact with the Liberals in favour of the New Democrats under Leader John Horgan…”

The day after the election, The Council of Canadians launched this online action alert calling on Horgan and Weaver to form an alliance to stop Clark’s extreme energy agenda, including the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline and the Site C dam now under construction on the Peace River.

CTV reports, “[Weaver] said they’ve seen a ‘staggering’ number of emails from members of the public pushing them toward working with one party or the other, but that ‘it’s all on the table right now’.”

To add your voice to those calling for an NDP-Green alliance to stop Kinder Morgan and Site C, please click here now.

The Globe and Mail highlights, “Now, Ms. Clark must win the support of the Green Party caucus for a Throne Speech and a budget if she is to hang on to power. …[But] the Greens oppose some central planks in the Liberal agenda, including the construction of the Site C dam and the expansion of the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline, which could make a Liberal-Green alliance difficult.”

So, it looks hopeful that the NDP and Greens could strike a deal that would secure an NDP minority government with Green Party backing.

The CBC notes, “NDP Leader John Horgan told reporters [yesterday] that his party and the Greens have been in negotiations. ‘I’m optimistic we’ll be able to put forward a framework that has a majority of the support in the legislature’, he said. Horgan said it was important for his party and the Greens to work quickly, but indicated it might be a few days before any further announcement is made.”

For her part, Clark says, “With 43 B.C. Liberal candidates elected as MLAs, and a plurality in the legislature, we have a responsibility to move forward and form a government.” But Weaver counters, “Actually, the premier erred in that statement. The premier has a responsibility to ensure she gains the confidence of the house to form government. I would suggest that was a bit premature. We have not tested the confidence of the house yet.”

Weaver has set a deadline of May 31 to reach a deal with either the NDP or the Liberals.

CTV also reports, “The writ of election will be returned to the chief electoral officer on May 31, officially ending the election period. If the Greens decide before then that they are unhappy with a Liberal minority, they could agree to a formal or informal coalition and attempt to get into power. If they choose not to form a coalition, Clark will be formally asked to lead the province.”

The Council of Canadians is a non-partisan organization that endorses no political party, but rather is committed to building a peoples’ movement capable of holding any government accountable to the public interest.