ELECTION: 43 Liberals to rule as minority vs NDP's 41, three Greens

Nick Mcbride
May 20, 2017

British Columbia's Liberals managed to hang on to power by the skin of their teeth on Tuesday in an election that produced the first minority government in the Pacific Coast province in 65 years.

Current vote totals put the Liberals with 43 MLAs, the NDP with 41 MLAs and the Green Party with 3 MLAs.

"I think British Columbians heard the message about how important it is that we fight for jobs, especially in the face of rising USA protectionism in the United States and that we keep taxes low, stay competitive, leave more money in people's pockets and that we keep up the good work that we've been doing for four years", she said.

Kathryn Harrison, also a professor at UBC, says the Greens must weigh the risks of either choice, but the Liberals may wait to do any negotiating until after May 24, when a final count of ballots is expected.

If Horgan happens to become premier via this election, which seems an outside possibility at this point, it would certainly bring more light to West Shore issues such as transportation and affordable housing, to name a couple.

However, the Greens' and New Democrats' stance on electoral reform may be a deal breaker with the Liberals, Harrison said.

He said however the government ends up looking, the NDP's increased seat count in the legislature strengthens the party.

The Greens' and Liberals' campaign messages diverged widely on issues ranging from the environment to the foreign buyers' tax, and endorsing the Liberals too wholeheartedly could cost Mr. Weaver support in his core constituency.

The Greens received eight per cent of the popular vote in the 2013 election along with their lone seat, but Weaver boldly forecasted gains in areas of NDP strength on Vancouver Island and the Kootenays. "That would be a long-term win for them so that's one they may be willing to risk in supporting the NDP", said Harrison. If there are sufficient absentee votes to change the outcome in either Courtenay/Comox or Maple Ridge/Mission, the Liberals could obtain the 44 seats necessary for a majority.

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Across the North Shore's four ridings, Liberal support dropped by 7.46 per cent, while the Green vote share was up 13.26 per cent from the last election.

John Horgan spoke to the press later in the day, emphasizing that 60 per cent of British Columbians had "voted for a new government", leaving the door open to some form of NDP-Green coalition.

"BC Greens have said we can work with anyone", Weaver said.

"Tonight we won the popular vote", she said.

"We have a lot of work to do and we're going to do it together", said Furstenau shortly after her victory.

NDP Leader John Horgan held a news conference shortly after, where he revealed his intention to take the reins if the final count goes in his party's favour. "And we have also won the most seats".

However a minority scenario would likely mean negotiations between Green leader Andrew Weaver and both the NDP and Liberals.

"Small parties like the Greens are forever disadvantaged by a first-past-the post system. And I think that is what they deserve", said Horgan.

Speaking at a campaign office in her riding, Clark said she's confident the Liberals have done everything they could to reach voters over the past four weeks of campaigning.

Other reports by VgToday

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