VICTORIA – Green Leader Andrew Weaver says he’s very close to making a deal with either the Liberals and the New Democrats on forming a new minority government in British Columbia.
He said negotiations between the parties have intensified since Elections BC confirmed the province’s election results earlier this week with the Liberals holding 43 seats in the legislature to the NDP’s 41 and the Greens’ three.
“For us it’s very important to ensure that we can demonstrate to British Columbians that we can make a minority government work,” he told a news conference on Friday.
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Weaver said the parties have looked at a range of examples of minority governments in Canada and overseas to determine how to proceed, and he isn’t interested in a coalition government because that would undermine the Greens’ ability to defend their platform.
“We obviously need to find a situation that will be stable, that can advance the kind of policies we think got the B.C. Greens 17 per cent of the popular vote,” he said.
Reforming the voting system to implement proportional representation remains one of the key issues for the Greens, but Weaver said “how we get there is, of course, up for negotiation.”
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The Greens and NDP support a system of proportional representation that accounts for the number of seats each party gets in the legislature based on their percentage of the popular vote.
NDP Leader John Horgan has said he wouldn’t want to change the electoral system without a referendum. Weaver has said his preference is to implement proportional representation and then after two elections hold a referendum on whether people want to keep it.
The NDP has said it would hold a referendum on proportional representation that would require the support of 50 per cent plus one and the party would campaign in support of the change.
Two previous referendums on proportional representation have failed in B.C.
The Liberals led by Christy Clark haven’t discussed their negotiating position since the final vote counts were released on Tuesday.
But in a statement, Clark said the Liberals intend to form a government because they have a plurality of seats in the house. The Liberals were seeking a fifth successive majority government in the election held on May 9.
Although the Green platform has many overlapping points with both parties, Weaver said compromise is necessary and voters aren’t going to see a single party’s platform dominate.
Weaver said he thinks there’s no reason why a minority government shouldn’t last a full four-year term.
Negotiating teams from all parties will be drafting proposals this weekend. Weaver said an agreement will likely be reached before Wednesday, which was his original goal in talks with the other parties.