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Greens and NDP Agree to End Liberal Era

Christy Clark says her caucus will ‘carefully consider our next steps.’

By Andrew MacLeod 29 May 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria and the author of A Better Place on Earth: The Search for Fairness in Super Unequal British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, 2015). Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

The BC NDP will form government with Green support under an agreement the leaders of the two parties announced together today.

“I’m very excited about the prospect of delivering the people of British Columbia what they voted for, and that was change,” NDP leader John Horgan told reporters at the legislature.

Horgan said he hasn’t spoken with Liberal leader Christy Clark since election night, and Green leader Andrew Weaver said his party had serious discussions with both the Liberals and NDP about who they would help form government.

“It was obvious to us, BC Greens, that there’s so much commonality in this legislature,” Weaver said, standing next to Horgan. “There are so many ideas that all parties share.”

The agreement is for the Greens to support the NDP for four years on spending and budget matters. There are details to follow, but Horgan said that before those are made public they need to be ratified by the NDP caucus, which meets tomorrow.

In the May 9 election, the BC Liberals won 43 seats, just shy of the 44 needed for a majority in the 87-seat legislature. The NDP won 41 and the Greens three, giving the party the balance of power.

Weaver said he wouldn’t release the details of the agreement, but noted that Green candidates campaigned hard against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline proposal. “This issue of Kinder Morgan is one that was critical to us, and I think you’ll see that reflected in tomorrow’s announcement,” he said. 

Shares in Kinder Morgan Canada are to begin trading publicly on Tuesday. 

Clark was unavailable to reporters, but released a prepared statement. “It’s vitally important that British Columbians see the specific details of the agreement announced today by the BC NDP and Green Party leaders, which could have far-reaching consequences for our province’s future,” she said.

“As the incumbent government, and the party with the most seats in the legislature, we have a responsibility to carefully consider our next steps. I will consult on those steps with the newly elected BC Liberal caucus, and have more to say tomorrow.”

Throughout the negotiations, Weaver said the conditions for Green support included official party status, banning big money donations to BC political parties and introducing a proportional representation electoral system where the number of seats a party wins better reflects its share of the popular vote.

The agreement with the NDP is an opportunity to show that the legislature can work without one party holding a majority of seats, Weaver said. “What better way to show that proportional representation could work by showing that a minority government can and will work in the best interests of people throughout its session.”

Horgan said the arrangement would deliver a government that’s focused on people. “I’m very excited about the prospect of stable government and demonstrating to British Columbians that we can do great things when we work together.”

Horgan said the NDP and Greens will let Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon know about their agreement and proceed from there. 

Asked if he expected Clark to resign, Horgan said, “The premier will have some choices to make, without any doubt.”  [Tyee]

Read more: Politics, BC Politics

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