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Now what? Election puts BC into political parts unknown

16 May 2017

That means either B.C. NDP leader John Horgan would be asked to form a new government, with Green Party support, or a new election could be called.

The B.C. election is over, but with the Liberals winning only a minority of seats, the Green Party holding the balance of power-and with the results from at least one key riding still to be determined-questions about who will form the next government in the province remain unresolved.

Clark also appeared to be doing her best to woo the Green Party supporters and its three members of the legislature, including leader Andrew Weaver.

When it was all said and done, Christy Clark and the BC Liberals claimed the province's first minority government in more than six decades.

Prof. Richard Johnston of the University of British Columbia said that while the Greens share some common policies with the NDP on issues such as electoral reform, the party must evaluate whether it should back the party that didn't get the most seats or votes.

The BC Liberals were leading or elected in 43 seats, while the NDP had 41, as of 11:50 p.m.

But Clark had a different interpretation, saying she reads the results as a plea to the major parties to work together more effectively.

"We agreed that they're not prepared to defend our coast against increasing tanker traffic", Horgan said.

"If it's true that British Columbians voted for a change, that must mean, if you're Andrew Weaver, ousting Christy Clark from government", Johnston said Wednesday.

However, it marks a rebuke for the governing party, who have been reduced from the 47 seats they held going into the election. "They elected a really significant Green presence and certainly a lot of people voted for the Greens across the province and so I intend to listen to that".

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"We inspire people to vote for something... and those people are from across the political spectrum", Weaver said.

There were 16 ridings, mostly in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, where the combined NDP/Green vote would have been enough to defeat the Liberals. "He may have the effect of delegitimating his own party and the NDP by putting them in power".

"It could be a disaster", said Johnston about the enormous difficulties in changing the way a province votes, "but if they can pull it off it would transform B.C. politics".

"This is what we do know: a majority of British Columbians voted for a new government and I believe that's what they deserve", he said. Clark endorsed the project after the federal government's approval, but Horgan has promised to use "every tool in the toolbox" to stop it.

Weaver said he wouldn't demand official party status from the other parties to support a minority government, but there's a chance the Greens could get recognized anyway.

The NDP campaign stepped up its attack on the Greens in the final days, warning voters that the NDP is the only party that could end the B.C. Liberal dynasty.

On other issues, he added, "We are willing to negotiate".

Lyle noted both the NDP and Greens were against the LNG and Site C dam megaprojects, while the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline project may also be cast in doubt.

There were 3,156,991 registered voters in the province, according to Elections BC.