With the golden-hued gates of the Legislative Chamber serving as wedding arches, BC Green leader Andrew Weaver gave his yes-word to a proposal to prop up a New Democratic minority government under John Horgan. The arrangement promises to end 16 years of rule by the B.C. Liberals.
Weaver and Horgan announced their political engagement just after 2 p.m. Monday, ending weeks of speculation following the provincial election of May 9. It left three BC Greens – Weaver, Adam Olsen and Sonia Furstenau – holding the balance of power as neither the BC Liberals nor the New Democrats secured a majority of seats.
The BC Liberals fell one seat short of a majority with 43 seats, while the New Democrats won 41 seats, a result confirmed last week following the counting of absentee ballots in Courtenay-Comox.
The joint announcement from Weaver and Horgan underscored that the arrangement would not be a formal coalition but rather a so-called confidence and supply agreement.
“We can have a stable minority government for four years with the support of BC Green MLAs on confidence and supply matters,” said Weaver, the MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head. “After taking the time to engage in good faith discussions with both parties, our caucus has concluded that it is in the best interests of British Columbians for new ideas and new approaches to be brought to the B.C. Legislature.”
Premier Christy Clark remains premier until such time she has lost the confidence of the Legislative Assembly.
“As the incumbent government, and the party with the most seats in the legislature, we have a responsibility to carefully consider our next steps, ” Clark said in a release. “I will consult on those steps with the newly elected BC Liberal caucus, and have more to say tomorrow.”
Monday’s announcement was anticipated but not surprising. Comments from Saanich South MLA Lana Popham suggested it was perhaps not a question of if but how the B.C. New Democrats and BC Greens might end up working together.
“We are very confident that we have enough common ground with the BC Greens to form government and make sure that the changes that need to be made in B.C. are made,” said Popham in an interview last week.
She said New Democrats and Greens are closer aligned than the BC Liberals and Greens on issues such as electoral reform, campaign finance reform and party status for the Greens.
Popham acknowledged policy differences concerning the process of electoral reform, with the New Democrats favouring a referendum. But those differences, she said, can be worked out during negotiations.