Tuesday, 26 September, 2017

BC political parties ponder common issues after close vote, possible deals

Saul Franklin | 15 May, 2017, 17:45

It's the first time the province has seen a minority since 1952-1953.

The last time a previous governing party won even close to a majority of the popular vote was 1986, when Bill Vander Zalm's Social Credit party earned 49.32 per cent of voter support, virtually dead even with votes cast for the old Liberal and the NDP. "And it's something that I think could be very exciting for the future of our province".

That means either B.C. NDP leader John Horgan would be asked to form a new government, with Green Party support, or a new election could be called.

John Horgan's NDP was in the lead for much of the night.

"British Columbians did tell us tonight that they want us to do some things differently", Clark told hundreds of supporters who had gathered in downtown Vancouver to watch the election results come in. They elected a really significant Green presence and certainly a lot of people voted for the Greens across the province.

"Under the leadership of Andrew Weaver, the B.C. Greens have become a legitimate political force, one which can lead British Columbia towards a progressive, sustainable economy".

"We inspire people to vote for something... and those people are from across the political spectrum", Weaver said.

While saying the Green Party is focused on good policy and will work with either party, it certainly sounds like party leader Andrew Weaver has more in common with the NDP than the Liberals.

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Premier Rachel Notley hasn't commented on the election results so far.

Who will be the next Premier of British Columbia?

On election night she said she is confident the party's standing may improve, with a narrow decision in Courtenay-Comox that could give the B.C. Liberals a bare majority if absentee ballots favour her candidate.

The party is locked in a statistical dead heat with the NDP, according to the latest Mainstreet poll, although the polling group forecasts a Liberal majority. Those mail-in ballots take up to two weeks to be counted, so a final result will not be declared until then.

Out of 44,092 eligible voters, 16,092 votes were reported after 75 polling stations counted ballets.

And in a major development for B.C. politics, the Green Party finally broke through, capturing three seats, one short of the number needed for official party status, but enough to hold the balance of power. The province has Canada's lowest unemployment rate and has led the country in economic growth two years in a row.

"All the different scenarios play out in a hung parliament", he said, using a term to describe a situation where no single party or group of parties controls the majority of legislative or parliamentary seats.

Several Liberal cabinet ministers lost seats in Metro Vancouver, including Attorney General Suzanne Anton, Technology Minister Amrik Virk and Peter Fassbender, the minister responsible for TransLink. Clark included a promise to "work with the other parties" in the context of a partisan stem winder speech delivered in the wee hours of the morning.

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