The election didn’t end on election night.
British Columbians will continue to await a final vote count that will determine what the government will look like moving forward. Once all polling stations across the province had reported, the B.C. Liberals held 43 seats, the NDP were at 41 and the Greens were up to three.
Leonard Krog of the NDP, who was re-elected as Nanaimo MLA, called Tuesday’s provincial vote “a unique, historical result” and said it will be several weeks before it’s known what the B.C. government is going to look like.
“[Premier Christy Clark] may end up with a majority, depending on recounts, absentee ballots, etc.,” he said. “Right now anything is literally possible given the close nature of a number of the races.”
Krog won with 11,498 votes, beating B.C. Liberal challenger Paris Gaudet (8,189), Green Party’s Kathleen Harris (4,899) and Libertarian Bill Walker (251).
A potential minority government is not something anyone could have prepared for, Krog added.
“On a political junkie’s level, it’s very exciting and it was an exciting evening,” he said. “Once the cards are known, it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.”
Until then, any talk of party leaders striking deals is premature, Krog said. He did suggest that the NDP and the Green Party may find common ground on two files in particular – banning corporate and union donations, and electoral reform.
“I think there’s two major issues that are very important to both parties and these are obvious ones and they’re no-cost items, as well,” he said.
Gaudet said she will wait to see if her party will get a majority or remain a minority government.
“It’s nine votes away in Courtenay-Comox, so I know they’ll have to go through that process,” said Gaudet. “Right now it’s up to the three leaders to see how things roll out.”
People expressed concern that the Greens could take away votes from the NDP, but Harris dismissed that as a scare tactic.
“You’ll never get what you want if you don’t vote for it, so how can they call not voting for what you want a strategy?”
“The other issue is that the experts that do the numbers on this, they all say that there’s nothing really to it because nobody knows how people are going to vote,” said Harris.
Krog said although election results are unclear, it’s clear to him that voters “weren’t fond of Christy Clark and they wanted change.”
He said however the government ends up looking, the NDP’s increased seat count in the legislature strengthens the party.
“We better reflect the real face of British Columbia with the new members,” he said. “It’s a pretty diverse group and I’m excited by the prospect of working with the new people.”