For B.C.’s Greens and NDP, next test will be establishing ‘stability’
He may lose a few votes here and there, but B.C. NDP leader John Horgan says he’s confident he can form a stable government that will hold steady for four years.
Horgan joined The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos this weekend to discuss the political upheaval in his province and what it means for British Columbians.
WATCH: West Block primer on what B.C. election results mean
Last week, the province’s Green and NDP parties announced they were joining forces, using their combined one-seat advantage to topple Premier Chirsty Clark’s Liberals once she recalls the legislature. The two left-of-centre parties said they plan to then form a new minority government, with Horgan at the helm and three Green MLAs holding the balance of power.
“It’s a very exciting time for change in British Columbia,” Horgan said.
He denied there could be floor-crossings to the Liberals benches, which would upset the carefully laid plans.
WATCH: Andrew Weaver and John Horgan deliver agreement to Government House
“We worked very hard with the B.C. Green caucus, the three members, to reach an accord. To ensure we can have a stability in a minority parliament for a four-year period,” Horgan told Kapelos.
“There will be votes that are lost, but they’re not votes of confidence.”
At the top of the new government’s to-do list, Horgan said, will be trying to help the provincial economy adjust to new American tariffs on softwood lumber, addressing the labour conflicts and legal challenges linked to the public education system, and continuing to tackle the fentanyl crisis.
The NDP will also be raising corporate income tax by one per cent, adjusting B.C.’s carbon tax to be consistent with the $50 per tonne bar set by Ottawa (by 2022), and increasing income taxes on the top two-per-cent of wage earners.
“Those are the only tax increases we campaigned on,” Horgan said.
As for Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain pipeline project (which Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver have both staunchly opposed), the NDP leader said that although pipeline approvals fall under federal jurisdiction, he will use every tool at his disposal to halt the project.
WATCH: Is pipeline expansion in peril under new B.C. government?
Some First Nations remain opposed to Trans Mountain, he explained, and could take legal action.
“We also have abilities with respect to permits on stream crossings and other issues that require provincial responsibility, and we’re going to exercise those,” Horgan said.
“The premier has acknowledged that the writing’s on the wall, her government will be defeated. Now we want to get going on these issues.”
In response, federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr suggested the pipeline is a done deal.
“It’s approved. It’s now a federally-approved pipeline,” he said in an interview on The West Block.
“It’s their right to use the courts to make their argument … but we believe that this pipeline is in Canada’s interest and it’s in B.C.’s interest. We thought that the day before the British Columbia election and we think that now.”
Beyond that, the construction schedule is up to Kinder Morgan, Carr said.
Watch the full interview with John Horgan above.
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