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Post election, B.C. Liberals and NDP woo Greens

The B.C. Liberals currently have a minority with 43 seats, one seat short of a majority. The B.C. NDP increased their seats to 41, and the Greens to 3.

Christy Clark speaks to reporters on May 10, 2017 following the election.

Jen St. Denis/Metro

Christy Clark speaks to reporters on May 10, 2017 following the election.

As British Columbia faces the possibility of its first minority government in 65 years, the B.C. Liberals and NDP are working hard to make nice with the provincial Greens, who now hold the balance of power after doubling their votes and gaining two more seats to bring their total to three.

Premier Christy Clark said she was ready to work with the B.C. Greens, whether or not her party ends up securing a minority or majority government. The B.C. Liberals won 43 seats last night, one short of the 44 needed for a majority. The NDP walked away with 41.

While Clark said voters had sent a clear message to her party to work “across party lines,” she emphasized that the sharp increase in votes for the Greens means that voters want to see her working with the Greens, rather than the NDP, who increased their seats from 35 to 41 but saw little change in total number of votes.

The Liberals, which Clark describes as a “free enterprise” coalition, lost both seats and votes.

“I think people really wanted to see us work together with other parties and they certainly wanted to see the Greens play a much bigger role,” Clark said.

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan also said he’s confident he is able to work with the Greens. Both he and Clark have had telephone conversations with Weaver since the election results came in.

“We talked about how we both agreed that the B.C. liberals have failed British Columbians on a range of areas,” Horgan said. “We both agreed that they failed on child care. They failed on the housing crisis. We agreed that they’re not prepared to defend our coast against an increase in tanker traffic. We have a range of issues in common.”

In a May 3 interview with Global News, Weaver said he would work with either party — but had experienced Horgan’s “explosive temper” several times.

But in a press conference following election night, Weaver reiterated his willingness to work with the B.C. Liberals and B.C. NDP. Horgan’s representation of their conversation was accurate, Weaver confirmed.

“We both believe that the disparity between those who have and those who have not is out of control. We agreed that education is our top priority…We both agreed that big money needs to be banned from politics.”

Weaver said the No. 1 priority for his party is reforming B.C.'s very lax political donation system. 

When asked what he would be prepared to compromise on, Weaver touched on the Liberal's as-yet unacheived promise to launch an LNG industry and the controversial Site C hydroelectric dam on the Peace River.

"LNG doesn’t exist. I don’t think I need any compromise on LNG. I’ve been saying this for four years: There’s no compromise, it’s just not happening. The people of British Columbia have been sold a bill of goods on LNG," he said.

"In terms of Site C, we’ve been very clear we would stop it, Horgan’s been clear they would send it to the BCUC, and the Liberals have been very clear that they would keep it going. I think you could probably see compromises (between those positions)."

The B.C. election results could still change. The riding of Courtenay-Comox was decided for the NDP with just nine votes, and could swing back to the B.C. Liberals when absentee ballots are counted between May 22 and 24. There may also be other possible recounts in ridings decided by less than 100 votes.

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