B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan speaks to media from Legislature following election results in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, May 14, 2017. British Columbia entered a new stage of political uncertainty Wednesday as the final vote count from an election held more than two weeks ago confirmed the province’s first minority government in 65 years. But with the balance of power firmly in his grasp, Green Leader Andrew Weaver indicated he wants to end the confusion that has gripped the province since May 9 by trying to reach a deal with either the Liberals or the NDP on a minority government by next Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. Greens seek to avoid another election

VANCOUVER — The Greens want to avoid triggering another election in British Columbia after the final results left them in the historic position of holding the balance of power in a minority government, says the party leader’s press secretary.

Jillian Oliver said B.C. voters have little appetite for another election and party leader Andrew Weaver’s priority is a stable minority government in which his third-place party supports either the Liberals or the New Democrats.

“We’re going in this with the best of intentions to make this government work,” she said Thursday. “It’s not just about this point in time. This is a huge, historic opportunity to really break out of the two-party system that has failed British Columbia for so long.

“We take it really, really seriously and we’re going to do everything we can to avoid (an election).”

Oliver said negotiations are becoming more serious now that the final results on Wednesday confirmed the Greens hold three seats compared with the Liberals’ 43 and NDP’s 41. The party’s goal is to have an agreement by next Wednesday.

Ben Chin, a spokesman for Premier Christy Clark, said there’s an “honest and constructive spirit of working together” in the discussions the Liberals have had with the Greens.

Carole James, an NDP member of the legislature, said she is at the negotiating table with party leader John Horgan and she is confident they can reach an agreement with the Greens.

“I’m optimistic and I think the public expects us to get this done,” said James, a former party leader.

Political scientist Cara Camcastle of Simon Fraser University said if another election is held soon, voters might elect a NDP majority, which would mean the Greens lose their opportunity to influence government.

But Oliver said the Greens motivation to avoid an election is not about losing support.

“In this election our greatest obstacle was our viability. I think there’s so many people who still voted strategically,” she said. “I think what we see for the future is the Green party growing stronger as more people realize that it is possible to have a Green caucus.”

Weaver has said his three deal breakers are official party status in the legislature, an electoral system based on proportional representation, and political fundraising reform.

He has not publicly made stopping the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the Site C dam conditions for the party’s support as well, but Oliver said everything in the Greens’ platform is being discussed.

“We have the strongest platform on environmental issues. He has really clear positions on both Site C and Trans Mountain, but nothing’s been decided yet,” she said.

The Green leader’s top three demands show he is looking to secure his party’s future, said political scientist Gerald Baier of the University of British Columbia.

“He actually is a long-term thinker. I think he sees the horizon — that they benefit from an election in three or four years, not an election in 18 months,” said Baier.

“If you’re resetting the rules, either in terms of campaign finance or in terms of what the electoral system’s going to be, it’s good to give everyone a little time to settle into that. I think he sees it that way.”

Proportional representation would benefit the Greens and potentially enable the party to get 10 or more seats, but it would hurt both the Liberals and NDP, said Baier.

Horgan has said he would not 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, said Oliver.

But asked whether Weaver would consider a referendum, Oliver said it’s too early to say.

“Everything’s on the table right now,” she said.

James said the NDP would hold a referendum on proportional representation that would require the support of 50 per cent plus one and the party would campaign in support of the change, even though it would likely mean fewer NDP seats.

“We believe that every vote should count and that it shouldn’t be about self-interest, it should be about representing the public.”

Just Posted

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline in close vote

CALGARY — Nebraska’s Public Service Commission has approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route… Continue reading

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

TORONTO — One of Canada’s high profile weather forecasters is warning Canadians… Continue reading

Nebraska set to vote today on fate of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

CALGARY — Five commissioners in Nebraska are set to vote today on… Continue reading

Hippie cult leader Charles Manson dead at 83

LOS ANGELES — Charles Manson, the hippie cult leader who became the… Continue reading

Tie new affordable housing money to outcomes, former watchdog tells Liberals

OTTAWA — Parliament’s first budget watchdog is warning the federal government to… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

CP Holiday train to stop in Ponoka for another year

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month