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Liberals, NDP open to working with Greens on electoral reform. Maybe.

Both Christy Clark and John Horgan say their parties are in talks with the BC Greens and hint electoral reform could be on the agenda.

The British Columbia Legislature building in Victoria.

The Canadian Press

The British Columbia Legislature building in Victoria.

Electoral reform could be on the horizon as British Columbia’s political parties enter into negotiations a week after a historic election that still has no clear winner.

At the very least, neither the BC Liberals nor the NDP are saying, “No” to proportional representation – as long as it gains them the support of a BC Green Party that appears to hold the balance of power in the Legislature.

Electoral reform, along with banning big money in politics, is one of Andrew Weaver’s key conditions for partnering up with either Christy Clark or John Horgan.

While it’s not something the Liberals or Clark supported in their platform or mentioned during the campaign, the tune seems to have changed as the Liberals are looking at a possible minority government (they hold 43 seats, to the NDP’s 41 and the Greens’ three, with more than 170,000 absentee ballots still to be counted and pending recounts).

“Well, as you know, in the past I have been an advocate for electoral reform and I campaigned for it when I was on my radio show,” said Clark, who hosted a talk show on CKNW before being Premier in 2011. “I know that’s part of the Green platform …  I think the NDP don’t really have a position on it … but electoral reform is something I know the Greens are interest in doing. So, well, you know, I don’t know where that will end up.”

Contrary to Clark’s claim, the NDP did support electoral reform in its platform and campaign on it during the election.

On Tuesday, Horgan reiterated his hope the NDP could work with the Greens on reform, and other shared platform planks.

“My position during the election campaign was that we needed to have a referendum to address that issue. Mr. Weaver and I will have a conversation about that, should that opportunity present itself, and we’ll go from there.”

Horgan said passing legislature on electoral reform together with the Greens could itself be “a real opportunity to demonstrate” how reform may work.

“Right now, we have an [election] outcome that allows two parties with the vast majority of the popular vote to work together for positive outcomes for people,” he said.

Weaver and the Greens, meanwhile, are holding their cards close to their chests as negotiations are underway.

The party announced its negotiating team Tuesday, consisting of Weaver, deputy leader Sonia Furstenau, chief of staff Liz Lilly and consultant Norman Spector, to “lead its discussions surrounding the terms of support for a potential NDP or Liberal government.”

Weaver did not speak to media Tuesday, but will host a press conference in Victoria Wednesday morning.

He has previously said his No. 1 priority is reforming B.C.’s lax political donation system by banning union and corporate donations.

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