NDP, Greens strike deal

Lead­ers an­nounce 4-year deal to form mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - FRONT PAGE - Matt Kiel­tyka

Green Party Leader An­drew Weaver said he saw a dif­fer­ent side of NDP leader John Hor­gan dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions since May 9’s his­toric elec­tion.

Both in­tend to see a dif­fer­ent side of the Leg­is­la­ture soon, swap­ping their op­po­si­tion seats for the other side of the floor to form a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment.

The two par­ties have an­nounced they’ve struck a fouryear “con­fi­dence and sup­ply agree­ment” to form Bri­tish Columbia’s next gov­ern­ment, one that will end the B.C. Lib­eral’s 16-year reign over the prov­ince.

The NDP’s 41 seats and the Greens’ three would rep­re­sent a ma­jor­ity of votes in the Leg­is­la­ture, more than the Lib­er­als’ 43.

Weaver has been in ne­go­ti­a­tions with both par­ties since elec­tion night and said he was will­ing to work with both as long as they met cer­tain Green con­di­tions, such as ban­ning union and cor­po­rate dona­tions in pol­i­tics and mov­ing to­ward a pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion elec­toral sys­tem.

The terms of agree­ment be­tween the NDP and Greens won’t be re­leased un­til Tues­day (the NDP cau­cus still needs to rat­ify the deal), but Weaver said it will fo­cus on com­mon­al­i­ties be­tween the party plat­forms.

The NDP sup­ported both cam­paign fi­nanc­ing and elec­toral re­form dur­ing the cam­paign.

“We were very, very close with both par­ties,” said Weaver, cryp­ti­cally. “And there were some things that we felt were im­por­tant where some val­ues were a lit­tle more com­mon than oth­ers.”

One big hint the Green leader did drop, how­ever, was on op­po­si­tion to Kinder Mor­gan’s Tran­sMoun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion.

“Ob­vi­ously there are some things that are near and dear to my heart, to the heart of my cau­cus col­leagues, as well as to the hearts of the BC NDP and their cau­cus,” he said. “One of the things I can say, the is­sue of Kinder Mor­gan is one that I have been heav­ily in­vested into. The is­sue of Kinder Mor­gan was one that was critical to (the Greens) and I think you’ll see that re­flected in to­mor­row’s an­nounce­ment.”

Hor­gan, mean­while, ad­mit­ted the idea of be­ing premier gave him an ex­tra spring in his step Mon­day.

“I am very ex­cited about the prospect of de­liv­er­ing to the peo­ple of Bri­tish Columbia what they voted for on May 9, and that was change,” he said. “An­drew and I have worked very closely to­gether over the last num­ber of weeks. We’ve brought for­ward the is­sues that bring us to­gether and high­lighted the is­sues that sep­a­rate us.

“And we’ve come to a con­clu­sion that a gov­ern­ment run by the BC NDP, with the sup­port on is­sues around sup­ply and bud­get­ing (from the Greens), can in fact de­liver the Bri­tish Columbians a gov­ern­ment that is fo­cused on peo­ple.”

Asked about their some­times fierce and ad­ver­sar­ial per­sonal re­la­tion­ship — an is­sue that came up dur­ing the cam­paign — both lead­ers de­nied there would be any prob­lems work­ing to­gether.

“To be blunt: I think John and I saw a dif­fer­ent side of each other in ne­go­ti­a­tions,” Weaver said.

Premier Christy Clark did not speak to me­dia Mon­day, but re­leased a state­ment call­ing on the NDP and Greens to make their agree­ment pub­lic.

“We have made ev­ery ef­fort to reach a gov­ern­ing agree­ment, while stand­ing firm on our core be­liefs,” said the Lib­eral leader. “It’s vi­tally im­por­tant that Bri­tish Columbians see the spe­cific de­tails of the agree­ment an­nounced to­day … which could have far­reach­ing con­se­quences for our prov­ince’s fu­ture.

“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 promised to say more on the sit­u­a­tion Tues­day.

She pre­vi­ously said the Lib­er­als still in­tend to form gov­ern­ment.

The Greens and NDP would be in a po­si­tion to top­ple it in a vote of con­fi­dence as soon as the Lib­er­als ta­ble a throne speech or bud­get, and would then ask the prov­ince’s lieu­tenant-gov­er­nor for a chance to gov­ern.

While less likely, it’s pos­si­ble the lieu­tenant-gov­er­nor could also call a new elec­tion if un­con­vinced the Greens and NDP could ef­fec­tively gov­ern the prov­ince.

THe CANA­DIAN PReSS

B.C. Green party Leader An­drew Weaver, left, and B.C. NDP Leader John Hor­gan in Vic­to­ria on Mon­day.

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