Well, the people have spoken. They have clearly sent a message and that message is…. this is where that head-scratching emoji would go.
According to NDP Leader John Horgan, “British Columbians have voted overwhelmingly to replace Christy Clark’s Liberals with a new government that works better for families. They voted for better schools, shorter wait times for health services, to defend our coast and to fix our broken political system. The newly elected BC NDP team will be working hard every day to ensure British Columbians get a new government that works for them instead of just the wealthy and well-connected.”
Now hold on there, John. An overwhelming vote to get rid of Christy Clark wouldn’t have left her party with more votes than yours, would it? Another head scratcher. Although, I’m sure Horgan’s point is that a definite majority of British Columbians did vote for either NDP or Green rather than the BC Liberals.
Christy Clark began by congratulating all candidates but then quickly reminded voters that “With 43 BC Liberal candidates elected as MLAs, and a plurality in the legislature, we have a responsibility to move forward and form a government.”
So the NDP think the results mean the voters firmly denounced the BC Liberals. The BC Liberals think that a minority is also plurality and they are the government.
And the ones who really holds the power are Andrew Weaver and his tiny Green Party.
With 43 seats plus three Green votes, the BC Liberals certainly can govern. But they need a commitment from the Green Party. And with 41 seats, cooperation from the Greens puts the NDP at 44 seats, a slim majority.
So the course of BC politics for the next couple of years will be determined by one Andrew Weaver. Now Horgan believes that the NDP and Greens share similar goals and concerns, like proportional representation and campaign-finance reform, and therefore should be able to come to an agreement, a “framework” as Horgan calls it, that will have majority support in the Legislature. Everyone is excited about the prospects for change, he said.
The BC Liberals, who borrowed the old campaign theme of Bill Clinton — “it’s the economy, stupid!” and talked jobs, jobs, jobs, have found a new appreciation for the environment and social issues.
“Our priority is to protect our strong economy and to manage B.C.’s finances responsibly, while listening closely to British Columbians on how we address important social and environmental priorities,” said Clark on Wednesday.
It all sounds good. What will Weaver do? Can we get a bracelet made up? WWWD.
The Green Party leader touted compromise.
“I don’t think British Columbians want anybody to go back to the polls anytime soon,” Weaver said. “Again, we have said to both parties that we’re willing to negotiate in the long term. There’s nothing magical about two years. There’s nothing magical about three. And frankly, there’s nothing stopping us actually looking for four years.”
Does this mean that the Greens will compromise with the BC Liberals on some things and the NDP on others? Or is he going to lock in with one party until the inevitable issue arises that cannot be resolved through compromise?
It’s all going to be terribly interesting. But if people like Stephen Harper and Mackenzie King can wrangle a minority for more than two years, surely the politicians of British Columbia can manage it as well. Because who wants to be the one who breaks the delicate balance and sends us back to the polls? Weaver is right about that one. No one wants another election campaign any time soon. And voters in a surly mood could certainly punish whichever party causes another campaign to happen.
Carolyn Grant is Editor of the Kimberley Bulletin