Christy Clark to stay pre­mier while votes are counted

Cape Breton Post - - Canada -

Bri­tish Columbia faces a two-week pe­riod of un­cer­tainty un­til the fi­nal re­sults are in from its tight elec­tion race, when it will be­come clearer whether the province has a mi­nor­ity or ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment.

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 pre­mier’s of­fice said Lt.Gov. Ju­dith Gui­chon has asked Clark to con­tinue gov­ern­ing af­ter the elec­tion.

Clark’s party won 43 seats while the NDP led by John Hor­gan col­lected 41 and the Greens un­der An­drew Weaver won three rid­ings in the 87seat leg­is­la­ture. The Lib­er­als only need one more seat for a ma­jor­ity.

But the re­sults will re­main un­clear for at least two weeks while 176,000 ab­sen­tee bal­lots are counted, which could flip close rid­ings in­clud­ing Courte­nay-Co­mox, where the NDP won by nine votes.

Even af­ter the fi­nal re­sults are an­nounced May 24, tight fin­ishes could trig­ger ju­di­cial re­counts.

Af­ter the ini­tial re­sults were in Tues­day, Hor­gan said the out­come shows Bri­tish Columbians want a change in gov­ern­ment af­ter 16 years un­der the Lib­er­als.

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

more ef­fec­tively.

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

“Bri­tish Columbians sent a very strong mes­sage to all sides of the leg­is­la­ture. They want us to work to­gether col­lab­o­ra­tively and across par­ti­san lines,” said Clark, who was try­ing to win the party’s fifth straight ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment.

The Lib­er­als lost seats in Metro Van­cou­ver and sev­eral cab­i­net min­is­ters were de­feated.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween the Lib­er­als and NDP in the pop­u­lar

vote on Tues­day was about 17,800 votes in favour of Clark’s party.

With three seats, the Green party holds the bal­ance of power in the leg­is­la­ture — a re­mark­able po­si­tion for Weaver af­ter be­com­ing the first Green elected four years ago.

Weaver said he called both lead­ers Tues­day night to con­grat­u­late them. Both Hor­gan and Clark said on Wed­nes­day that they in­tend to sit down with Weaver to talk about work­ing to­gether.

Hor­gan said he and Weaver agree that the Lib­er­als have failed Bri­tish Columbians on many is­sues. But Hor­gan would

not make a com­mit­ment to form­ing a coali­tion with the Green leader.

Asked what stopped the NDP from win­ning, Hor­gan said the game was still on.

“There’s still 176,000 sec­onds on the clock and I’m go­ing to wait to see what the fi­nal out­come is,” he said, re­fer­ring to the num­ber of ab­sen­tee bal­lots still to be counted.

“No one in this room, in our life­time, has seen this hap­pen in Bri­tish Columbia. I think it’s ap­pro­pri­ate that we wait with the rest of Bri­tish Columbia to make sure ev­ery sin­gle per­son who cast a bal­lot has had their say.”

CP PHOTO

Bri­tish Columbia Pre­mier Christy Clark ar­rives to ad­dress the me­dia at her of­fice in Van­cou­ver, B.C., Wed­nes­day Clark nar­rowly won a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment in Tues­day’s pro­vin­cial elec­tion.

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