Third-place B.C. Greens hold bal­ance of power, pri­or­ity is ‘sta­ble’ gov­ern­ment

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - LAURA KANE

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.

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