B.C.’s NDP, Greens strike deal to gov­ern

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - DIRK MEISSNER VIC­TO­RIA —

Bri­tish Columbia’s NDP leader high­lighted af­ford­able hous­ing and health care Tues­day as key el­e­ments in a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment deal with the Green party.

John Hor­gan spoke briefly to his cau­cus be­fore it met pri­vately to rat­ify the agree­ment, which has al­ready been ap­proved by the Greens.

“This agree­ment al­lows us to fo­cus on the things that mat­ter to Bri­tish Columbians,” he said to rous­ing cheers from mem­bers of his cau­cus.

Hor­gan and Green Leader An­drew Weaver an­nounced Mon­day the two par­ties had reached an agree­ment that could al­low the New Democrats to form a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment for a four-year term.

Hor­gan said af­ter 16 years in Op­po­si­tion, he is ex­cited about the prospect of gov­ern­ing.

“We share a great deal with the Green cau­cus,” he said. “This is a unique op­por­tu­nity for us all.”

Hor­gan said the deal will also al­low the prov­ince to de­fend coastal wa­ters, an ap­par­ent ref­er­ence to the ex­pan­sion of Kinder Mor­gan’s Trans Moun­tain pipe­line that will re­sult in a sev­en­fold in­crease in tanker traf­fic off B.C.

Weaver said Mon­day the pact re­flects his party’s op­po­si­tion to the pipe­line, which has also been op­posed by the NDP.

The Greens ne­go­ti­ated with the Lib­er­als and the NDP af­ter no party won a ma­jor­ity of seats in a pro­vin­cial elec­tion three weeks ago.

The Lib­er­als won 43 seats, the NDP 41 and the Greens took three seats.

For the first time in Cana­dian his­tory, the re­sults of the elec­tion left the Green party hold­ing the bal­ance of power.

Clark’s Lib­er­als were un­able to per­suade the Green party to back them in a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment.

Clark is ex­pected to re­act later Tues­day to the NDP-Green agree­ment aimed at re­plac­ing her gov­ern­ment.

As the in­cum­bent premier with the most seats, Clark would nor­mally be given the first chance to form a gov­ern­ment by the lieu­tenant-gov­er­nor and it’s un­clear if the Lib­er­als might still try to get the sup­port of the leg­is­la­ture for its own agenda.

The Greens went into ne­go­ti­a­tions with the other two par­ties mak­ing three key de­mands: get­ting of­fi­cial party sta­tus in the leg­is­la­ture, an elec­toral sys­tem based on pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion and po­lit­i­cal fundrais­ing re­form.

The Greens and NDP have sup­ported a sys­tem of pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion that ac­counts for the num­ber of seats each party gets in the leg­is­la­ture based on their per­cent­age of the pop­u­lar vote.

Hor­gan has said he wouldn’t want to change the elec­toral sys­tem with­out a ref­er­en­dum. Weaver has said his pref­er­ence is to im­ple­ment pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion and then af­ter two elec­tions hold a ref­er­en­dum on whether peo­ple want to keep it.

Two pre­vi­ous ref­er­en­dums on pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion have failed in B.C.

CHAD HIPOLITO, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

B.C. NDP Leader John Hor­gan de­liv­ers open­ing re­marks to the New Demo­crat cau­cus be­fore re­view­ing the agree­ment at the leg­is­la­ture in Vic­to­ria, B.C., on Tues­day.

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