Christy Clark to stay premier while votes are counted
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
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.”
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.