British Columbia: Greens to back minority NDP government

British Columbia Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver says his party will support a “stable minority” government led by the New Democratic Party (NDP).

The deal means the end of of 16 years in power for the Liberal Party in the Canadian province.

The Liberals won a slim victory in elections earlier in May, with 43 seats to the NDP’s 41.

This makes them the first minority government in the province since the 1950s.

Both Mr Weaver and NDP Leader John Horgan could barely conceal their excitement when they made the announcement together on Monday afternoon.

“This is an opportunity for people coming from an opposition to bring new eyes to government,” Mr Horgan said.

“I think we have a case now that this parliament and this legislature can work,” Mr Weaver added.

The Green Party says it will support the NDP for four years, in order to ensure a stable government. Mr Weaver was careful to stress it would not be a coalition government and the Green Party would not have any seats in cabinet.

The BC Liberals failed to clinch a majority when they lost a crucial district to the NDP on 24 May, a fortnight after the 9 May election, after all absentee ballots were tallied.

It left them with 43 out of 87 seats in the provincial legislature. The left-leaning NDP won 41 seats and the Green Party won three. Almost 60% of people voted against the Liberal Party in the May election.

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After many years in power, the BC Liberal Party has struggled recently amid high-profile donation scandals and a strong environmental movement in the province that vehemently opposes the oil and gas industry.

The provincial Liberals are a separate party from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals.

The terms of the deal between the Green Party and the NDP will be made public soon, Mr Horgan said, but in essence, the Green Party has agreed to side with the NDP on matters of budgets and confidence.

He said he was in talks with both the NDP and the Liberals and that he came “very very” close to working with the latter. But certain issues, notably the Liberals’ support for expanding the Kinder Morgan pipeline, held him back.

The deal still needs to be voted on by the NDP caucus on Tuesday.

Liberal Premier Christy Clark said she will “carefully consider” her next steps and have more to say after the NDP vote.

Legally, she remains premier until she steps down or a new election is called. But with the new deal between the Green Party and the NDP on the table, it is unlikely her government would last long.

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