Third-place B.C. Greens hold balance of power, priority is ‘stable’ government
VANCOUVER — The Greens want to avoid triggering another election in British Columbia after the final results left them in the historic position of holding the balance of power in a minority government, says the party leader’s press secretary.
Jillian Oliver said B.C. voters have little appetite for another election and party leader Andrew Weaver’s priority is a stable minority government in which his third-place party supports either the Liberals or the New Democrats. “We’re going in this with the best of intentions to make this government work,” she said Thursday. “It’s not just about this point in time. This is a huge, historic opportunity to really break out of the two-party system that has failed British Columbia for so long.
“We take it really, really seriously and we’re going to do everything we can to avoid (an election).”
Oliver said negotiations are becoming more serious now that the final results on Wednesday confirmed the Greens hold three seats compared with the Liberals’ 43 and NDP’s 41. The party’s goal is to have an agreement by next Wednesday.
Ben Chin, a spokesperson for Premier Christy Clark, said there’s an “honest and constructive spirit of working together” in the discussions the Liberals have had with the Greens.
Carole James, an NDP member of the legislature, said she is at the negotiating table with party leader John Horgan and she is confident they can reach an agreement with the Greens.
Political scientist Cara Camcastle of Simon Fraser University said if another election is held soon, voters might elect a NDP majority, which would mean the Greens lose their opportunity to influence government.
But Oliver said the Greens motivation to avoid an election is not about losing support.
Weaver has said his three deal breakers are official party status in the legislature, an electoral system based on proportional representation, and political fundraising reform.