Green Party holds the balance of power in British Columbia

Green Party holds the balance of power in British Columbia

Now that the vote count is over in Courtenay-Comox, it’s official. British Columbia has elected its first minority government in 65 years. But what does that mean for the future? Mary Griffin takes a look.

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver can finally relax.

It’s a historic moment for him as his party holds the balance of power in British Columbia.

“We are humbled by the responsibility that British Columbians have bestowed upon us,” Weaver said. 

After 15 tense days waiting for results from Courtenay-Comox, including absentee ballots, the NDP won the seat in the riding, meaning the outcome of the election was a minority government. 

But NDP Leader John Horgan says the results prove the need for a change.

“I do know that 60 per of British Columbians voted for a new government,” Horgan said.  “And they haven’t got one yet.”

And they may not get one yet. 

Jeremy Webber, the dean of law at the University of Victoria, said that the status quo will remain for the time being. 

“Christy Clark is still the premier. She is still the premier until she resigns, or is asked to resign by the Lieutenant Governor upon a defeat in the house,” Webber said. 

When the legislature sits again, the first order of business is the throne speech.

Then there is the vote to pass the speech, which Webber said will be a key test of Christy Clark’s minority government. 

“And if she loses it, she very much ought to resign,” Webber said.

“And if she doesn’t resign, then the Lieutenant Governor would be entitled to dismiss her.”

As a nonpartisan safeguard against the abuse of power, the office of the Lieutenant Governor is the core of authority in the province.

Judith Guichon may be called upon to determine who forms the next government.

And Professor Webber says that government could take any number of forms.
“It could be a formal coalition government. It could be just simply an arrangement,” Webber said. “It could just be, the Greens allowing the NDP a chance without there being a formal arrangement in place.”

And Weaver is not revealing any details, yet.

“We’ve had very productive conversations with both the BC NDP and the BC Liberals,” Weaver said. 

Weaver added that he will decide next week who the Greens will support.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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