B.C. Liberal Premier Christy Clark wins narrow victory in May 9 provincial election

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  • Preliminary results from the May 9 provincial election show that Premier Christy Clark and her ruling B.C. Liberal Party have won a minority government.

    Clark’s Liberals secured 43 seats as against the B.C. NDP’s 41 and the Greens’ three seats.

    However, absentee votes have yet to be counted and recounts done in some tight contests, which will determine the final results.

    To win a majority government, a party must win at least 44 of the 87 legislative seats,

    The final count will take place between May 22 and 24.

    A day after a historic election that ended with B.C.’s first minority government since 1953, Clark confirmed she would remain premier until at least the final count of ballots by Elections BC.

    In a news conference, Clark confirmed that British Columbia Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon asked her to stay on as premier.

    Clark also appeared to be doing her best to woo the Green Party supporters and its three members of the legislature, including leader Andrew Weaver.

    “We have a lot in common,” she said. “I’ve worked with Dr. Weaver in the past and he’s a smart and thoughtful guy.”

    Clark also deflected questions about her role in the Liberal Party’s loss of seats.

    “Whether it’s a majority or minority government that I lead, we are going to work hard with other parties … and accept the message from the voters who clearly want us to do things differently.”

    With all non-absentee ballots counted, Liberals were elected in 43 of B.C.’s 87 electoral districts, one short of the 44 seats needed to form a majority.

    The NDP leads in one riding, Courtenay-Comox, by just nine votes over the Liberals.

    Should the Liberals win that seat, the party would have a majority — but if the seat stays with the NDP, the New Democrats and Green Party could hypothetically form a coalition or governing arrangement that would make NDP Leader John Horgan the premier.

    The Green party achieved the historic political breakthrough they were looking for in the May 9 election.

    “We offered people a change that they could count on and British Columbians delivered that change tonight,” said Green Party Weaver.

    Weaver spoke briefly with Clark and Horgan on election night, but he said it was too early to make any decisions about forming coalitions or informal working agreements with the other parties.

    “Everything is give and take,” Weaver said. “We know how to compromise.”

    He suggested he saw no reasons why a minority government “can’t last a full term” of four years.

    Weaver is an internationally recognized climate scientist who was part of a team that shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.

    Weaver was the first Green elected to B.C.’s legislature four years ago when he surprisingly defeated former Liberal cabinet minister Ida Chong in Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

    The Greens received eight per cent of the popular vote in the 2013 election along with their lone seat, but Weaver boldly forecasted gains in areas of NDP strength on Vancouver Island and the Kootenays. They finished with more than 16 per cent of the popular vote based on preliminary results.

    He said at the outset of the campaign that if he was the only Green elected, he would ultimately step aside as leader.

    Weaver said watching B.C. invest in old fossil fuel technologies and miss opportunities to develop a sustainable and modern economy convinced him to pursue politics.

    He also stuck to policy-driven messages during the campaign and criticized the NDP for pushing voters to reject the Greens to help them oust Clark’s Liberals, saying it was a form of voter suppression.

    “There are people out there who feel that smear and slur are the ways to win elections,” Weaver said after voting in his Victoria-area riding Tuesday. “That’s not our way. Our way is to inspire people to get out to vote.”

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