Christy Clark remains BC premier until all votes counted


Christy Clark's Liberals were barely re-elected Tuesday to B.C.'s first minority government since 1952, with the Greens poised to hold the balance of power.

The premier's office said Lt. -Gov.

The Liberals jumped out to an early lead, taking 24 seats to the NDP's 10, with many ridings still to be counted for the 87-seat legislature.

With absentee ballots still to be counted in the days ahead, Clark's 43 seats represent a loss of only four from the last majority, and the NDP's 41 seats is up six.

"British Columbians did tell us they want us to do things differently".

She can either enter into a formal coalition with one of these parties (presumably the Greens), or else can try to work together informally going forward.

Asked several times Wednesday if she accepts personal responsibility for the Liberals' showing, Clark avoided a direct answer.

In at least two scenarios, the Greens-who oppose all fossil fuel exports-would in the position of being kingmakers in the new government, extracting significant major concessions from whichever party they partner with to form a majority government.

Peter Fassbender, the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and the Minister Responsible for TransLink, has lost his seat, as has Suzanne Anton, the Minister of Justice.

The Green Party holds three seats, and pending the results of absentee ballots and a recount in Courtenay-Comox, the balance of power. "We'll get decisions but they will take longer, they will often be more complicated because there will be layered issues in those compromises".

Both leaders are in communication with Weaver.

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 game's not over", said Horgan, who refused to concede defeat on Wednesday.

While saying the Green Party is focused on good policy and will work with either party, it certainly sounds like party leader Andrew Weaver has more in common with the NDP than the Liberals.

"Generally people say a vote is wasted if it doesn't influence the result in a riding", said Westlake.

In September a year ago, the Greens banned corporate and union donations.

"Tonight is the beginning of something very different", said Clark, unsure of her future.

"Substantively, it's easier to imagine a deal between the Greens and the NDP - not personality wise, but on substance".

New Democrat Leader John Horgan voted at an advance poll.

"What a historic day for British Columbia". He said voters want changes to political fundraising laws and electoral reform - two of the Green party's priorities. Both the NDP and Greens favoured changing the voting system to some form of proportional representation and vowed to ban corporate and union donations to political parties, issues the Liberals failed to fully appreciate. If the governing party isn't able gain support for confidence bills (Throne Speech, budget, etc.), the government would lose the confidence.