BC Greens face stickhandling act in deciding which party it would back

Premier Christy Clark spoke to the lieutenant-governor on Wednesday after the Liberals squeaked out a razor-thin victory over the NDP, leaving the province with its first minority government in 65 years, if the results don't change.

The Green Party's three seats give leader Andrew Weaver a lot of say in how long the Clark government can survive in the first minority government in B.C. since the 1950s.

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.

Clark, 51, told supporters early Wednesday she intends to remain premier despite coming one seat shy of the bare minimum 44-seat threshold needed to form a majority government.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark's Liberal Party was neck-and-neck with the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) in an election that could mean uncertainty for multi-billion-dollar energy projects.

Adam Olsen won Saanich North and the Islands unseating incumbent NDP Gary Holman. Whichever party they choose to work with would get to form the government, while the other party would become the official opposition.

Still, Norman Ruff, an associate professor emeritus at the University of Victoria who has studied B.C. politics since 1968, said Mr. Weaver has transformed the Greens from an environmental movement to a modern political party that, regardless of Tuesday's results, now has the apparatus to compete heartily in numerous ridings.

The murmer of media preparing for election fury is the only sound at Green Party headquarters at 7:30 p.m. on election night. "It is a non-negotiable issue for us to support either of the parties".

Solomon initially thought Grade 4 and 5 students might be too young for the vote, but she's since changed her mind. "There's still 176,000 seconds on the clock and I'm going to wait to see what the final outcome is".

Angolano said that electoral precedent has been set previously in Ontario in the 1980s with the NDP propping up a Liberal provincial government, and federally when the NDP stood behind the Pierre Trudeau government in 1974. "And they voted for an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top".

Advance votes are still being counted tonight and could swing the result in some close ridings.

Clark said she is prepared to meet with both Horgan and Weaver, but she sounded most conciliatory toward the Greens, noting that they doubled their popular vote and added two seats. "In days ahead there will be discussions taking lace between all parties, now is not the time, now is the time for Greens to celebrate".

The B.C. Liberal party has been in power for 16 years and is attempting to build on four straight majority governments by running on the party's record of economic growth and financial stability.

Clark, for her part, has worked well in the past with Weaver.

Continued rule by the BC Liberals under Clark would largely maintain course, amid some promises to reduce MSP premiums and cap tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges.

  • Jon Douglas