2017 BC Election – Analysis
British Columbia appears to be headed for a period of political uncertainty following the closest election in decades. The BC Liberals have won a minority government, capturing 43 seats in the 87 seat legislature, while NDP won 41 seats and the BC Green Party won three seats. This will be British Columbia’s first minority government since 1952. Elections BC concluded the final vote count of the May 9th BC election on May 24th as the province eagerly awaited the neck and neck results of the Courtenay – Comox riding which decided the fate of whether we’d see a Liberal majority or Liberal minority. In the end BC NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard defeated BC Liberal candidate Jim Benninger by only 189 votes, denying the BC Liberals a majority government. After negotiating with the Liberals and NDP, Andrew Weaver and the BC Green Party have now signed an agreement establishing the conditions of the BC Green Caucus providing confidence in a BC New Democratic Government. In joining together, this means the two parties have the 44 seats required to command a majority of votes in the legislature. The agreement will be given to Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon as proof the two parties are ready to succeed the BC Liberal government. Christy Clark intends to remain premier, recalling the legislature in the coming weeks, providing the opportunity for confidence in her government to be tested. She expects the Liberal party will lose that vote in which case the Lieutenant Governor will ask BC NDP leader John Horgan to form government.
If all BC NDP and Green MLAs vote against the Speech from the Throne, government will lose the confidence of the house of the Legislative Assembly and will be expected to resign. If this happens we expect the BC NDP and BC Greens to form an alliance and govern as a minority government. Although the BC NDP and BC Greens share similar ideas and values, BC Green support for policy and legislation (unrelated to confidence) is not subject to their agreement and will be decided on an issue by issue basis. Christy Clark has shared that she still plans to lead her caucus, and will do so as opposition leader.
One thing is for certain, government will be operating much differently than we are used to in British Columbia. If the parties want to make meaningful change, they will have to work together to ensure that B.C. is moving in the right direction for prosperity for all British Columbians. This means collaborating on policies, compromising on issues and uniting to pass legislation.
We have known a Liberal government here in B.C. for the past 16 years and understand the party to champion continuous job creation and a strong economy. However, based on the newly formed BC NDP and BC Green alliance, some major changes in legislation will be brought forward. Highlights of the agreement include:
Many of the highlights in the agreement directly threaten what Christy Clark’s BC Liberals had been advocating for over the last four years and will surely meet strong opposition from her side in house. All this to say, that there will be many competing voices in the conversation of how B.C. politics will be framed for the next four years and it’s important that all parties work together to ensure ongoing prosperity for all British Columbians.