After three weeks of uncertainty, British Columbians now know it will be the NDP’s John Horgan who will be taking the reins of the next provincial government, but in what direction and for how long could remain a mystery for some time to come.
The final count of absentee ballots confirmed that NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard won the riding of Courtenay-Comox by 189 votes, ensuring British Columbia’s first minority government in 65 years. The final results see the Liberals with 43 seats, the NDP with 41 and the Greens expanding their base to three seats.
This left the ultimate choice on who will be B.C.’s next premier up to one man, BC Green leader and Oak Bay – Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver, who announced Monday afternoon that he would be backing NDP leader John Horgan.
Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon will likely still give Christy Clark the first chance to form government, but without the support of the Greens (or NDP) that government is doomed to quickly go down in a vote of non-confidence.
BC Green policies have a lot more in common with those of the NDP than they do with the Liberals, and no doubt many Green voters would have been outraged by a decision by Weaver to prop up a Liberal government so diametrically opposed to their core beliefs. And Green voters aren’t alone, with a recent poll showing 51 per cent of British Columbians think the Greens should support the NDP, compared with 38 per cent who wanted the party to back the BC Liberals.
While Weaver’s support will allow Horgan to become B.C.’s next premier, that support comes at a price. The question that remains is what changes in legislation will the Greens be able to accomplish in exchange for their support – official party status and a commitment to move forward on electoral reform are all but a certainty. And with a government so fragile that a single missing MLA can bring everything crashing down, one must question how long this shotgun political wedding will last before British Columbians are sent back to the polls.