Greens hold balance of power in stunning B.C. election

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[Courtenay-Comox was won by the NDP by 9 votes. There will be an automatic recount, and the Liberal who lost was from the Comox Air Force Base. The absentee votes there have yet to be counted, and they are mainly from the Air Force Base. If that vote flips, Christy has a majority government and Andrew Weaver gets no deal at all. Interesting times. *RON*]

Dirk Meissner, Canadian Press / Toronto Star, 10 May 2017

Liberals win minority in B.C., Green Party achieves political breakthrough. British Columbia has its first minority government in 65 years, as the Liberals captured 43 seats over the NDP’s 41 in Tuesday’s election. Liberal Leader Christy Clark says the results mean voters want parties to work together.(THE CANADIAN PRESS)
VICTORIA—British Columbia’s upstart Green party achieved the historic political breakthrough they were looking for on Tuesday, winning three seats and holding the balance of power as no party won enough seats to form a majority government.

The see-saw election battle ended with 43 Liberals, 41 New Democrats and three Greens, although recounts could still change the outcome.

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

Weaver spoke briefly with Liberal Leader Christy Clark and NDP Leader John Horgan, 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.

B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver is an internationally recognized climate scientist who was part of a team that shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. (CHAD HIPOLITO / THE CANADIAN PRESS) 
But Weaver said the top priority for the Greens is removing the influence of big money from politics. Political donations from corporations and unions were election issues for both the Liberals and NDP.

Green supporters chanted, cheered and clapped as the reality of the winning results started to sink in.

Christin Geall of Victoria said she was ecstatic knowing the Greens will hold the balance of power.

“This is truly historic,” she said. “I never believed it was possible, even though I’d hoped.”

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.

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

In the house, Weaver gained a reputation as a prolific writer of private members bills. Several of them attracted Premier Christy Clark’s support, including a proposal to ban mandatory high heels for restaurant servers and legislation that requires post-secondary institutions to write and maintain policies to prevent sexual violence on campus.

The Greens received 8 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 Tuesday’s 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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