B.C. Greens and NDP strike deal for ‘stable’ minority government
The B.C. Green Party has reached an agreement to support the NDP and “create a stable minority government.”
The announcement was made jointly by the party leaders, Andrew Weaver and John Horgan, Monday afternoon.
Negotiations between the Greens, NDP and Christy Clark’s Liberals have been ongoing since the May 9 election, which resulted in a minority government.
WATCH: NDP and Greens make a deal for minority government
The election did not produce a clear winner in the 87-seat legislature, with the Liberals taking 43 seats, the NDP 41 and the Greens three, leaving the Green Party with the balance of power.
The 2017 election marks the first since 1952 that B.C. has voted in a minority government.
The Greens went into negotiations with the other two parties making three key demands: getting official party status in the legislature, an electoral system based on proportional representation and political fundraising reform.
The Greens and NDP have supported 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.
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.
Two previous referendums on proportional representation have failed in B.C.
On Monday, Weaver said showing how a minority government can work effectively is a way for the Green Party to show proportional representation is a viable option for the province.
Under terms of the agreement, the Greens will support the NDP’s legislative agenda on supply and budget issues, but there are no plans for anyone in Weaver’s caucus to serve in cabinet.
“We specifically did not ask for there to be a coalition,” said Weaver. “We wanted to maintain a minority situation to show British Columbians that it could work.”
Horgan said the idea of forming a coalition government wasn’t ever part of the negotiations.
“The absorbing of the Green caucus was not an agenda item. In fact, it was explicitly not an agenda item,” he said.
Following the announcement, Clark will have to recall the legislature to test the confidence of the house. If the B.C. Greens and NDP defeat the current government in a confidence motion, Clark would need to decide between resigning or asking for a new election.
Also of note, the Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon has an option of asking the Green Party and NDP leaders to govern without an election.
Premier Clark responded to the announcement with a written statement that said:
“In recent days, we have made every effort to reach a governing agreement, while standing firm on our core beliefs. It’s vitally important that British Columbians see the specific details of the agreement announced today by the BC NDP and Green Party leaders, which could have far-reaching consequences for our province’s future.
As the incumbent government, and the party with the most seats in the legislature, we have a responsibility to carefully consider our next steps. I will consult on those steps with the newly elected BC Liberal caucus, and have more to say tomorrow.”
Weaver said his office informed Clark of the outcome of its negotiations after trying to reach an agreement with both the Liberals and NDP.
Negotiations between the Green and Liberals parties were being held as late as Sunday night, Weaver said.
Under terms of the agreement, the Greens will support the NDP’s legislative program but there are no plans for anyone in Weaver’s caucus to serve in a cabinet position.
Details of the agreement will be released Tuesday.
— With files from The Canadian Press