Our province is about to embark into uncharted political waters.
With the Greens pledging support Monday afternoon to the BC New Democrats for a so-called “minority government,” and no announcement from the BC Liberals – at least as of Tuesday morning – with regards to their own plans, the future of leadership by B.C.’s elected officials seems a little murky at present.
Why the BC Green Party and BC NDP didn’t announce this week a “majority” via a true coalition hasn’t been fully explained, but both parties assured – in identically worded news releases – that such a deal isn’t the case.
In coalition governments, it’s not unheard of for the leader of the party with the higher number of votes to take the premier position and the subsequent runner-up to take a deputy role. Ministers would be appointed by the leaders from the now-affiliated parties, and government – and voters – would have an opportunity to embrace a more public debate.
Following B.C.’s May 9 provincial election, the New Democrats (with 41 seats) plus the Greens (with three) outnumber the BC Liberals (43), indicating clear positions for NDP Leader John Horgan and Green Leader Andrew Weaver, as well as, some are arguing, a clear direction for BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark, whose party lost four seats, its majority and, ultimately, its mandate.
But, as is so often the case in B.C. politics, what lies ahead is anything but clear.
Oddly, the two parties currently in opposition have been treated since last week’s final count as if they have been handed a mandate, despite finishing in second and third place, behind the BC Liberals.
One can only assume that either Horgan or Weaver – or, perhaps, both – believes it is in his best interest to proceed as announced, with the NDP forming a minority government thanks to declared support from the Greens in a four-year agreement that was to be ratified later today.
Whether it is the interest of all British Columbians, however, remains to be seen.
Regardless of how all the numbers add up in the days, weeks and months ahead, voters shall be forgiven for feeling a little rudderless for now.