On the eve of a throne speech that could mark the beginning of the end of her BC Liberal government, Premier Christy Clark is certain of one thing: no one in the province wants to go back to the polls any time soon.
“I don’t want an election,” she told Global News in an exclusive one-on-one interview. “I don’t think anybody in the province really wants an election so let’s find a way to work together. My part in that is presenting a throne speech everybody can agree with.”
According to Clark, Thursday’s speech will cross party lines and reflect a willingness to listen to an electorate that didn’t give the Liberals a majority government.
WATCH: B.C. throne speech could contain some surprises
“What I’m trying to do in the throne speech is craft an agenda for government that takes the best ideas from all the parties,” she said.
“We’re not doing it all the way that they would… but we’re taking all these big ideas from all the different parties, and things that I’ve heard in the last six weeks too, and putting it into a proposal that I think everybody can get behind because it’s not just what the BC Liberals ran on, it’s what the NDP ran on, it’s what the Greens ran on. So it’s really the result of listening to what happened in the elections.”
Details released by the Liberals in advance of the throne speech include major policy shifts, including a ban on corporate and union donations to political parties.
“Everybody says we wanted it in the election, we said we wanted to change it too, so we just decided, well, let’s get on with changing it and see what happens,” Clark said.
The Liberals also promised to invest $1 billion in childcare and early childcare development.
Those promises will come with a hefty price tag, but Clark said she is confident her government would still be able to deliver a balanced budget.
“There’s one thing people can count on from me and it’s making sure that we are good managers of the economy,” she said.
“The thing is we can afford it all and the reason we can is because we worked so hard to grow the economy. Now the economy is the best in Canada, let’s share it.”
While Clark believes the throne speech will have something for everyone, she is also aware that the Liberals are likely to lose a confidence vote.
“I think the likelihood is the government will not survive a confidence vote, but I think if we want stability in the legislature it’s in everybody’s interests that we figure out how to get the throne speech through,” Clark said.
“So my part in that is to present a throne speech that does a lot of the things that the other parties said they wanted to do, but, more importantly, does what British Columbians gave us their marching orders to go ahead and do.”
If the Liberals were to lose a confidence vote, Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon could invite the NDP to form government with the support of the Greens. She could also call for a new election.
“If the throne speech fails, everybody in the house is taking a risk that the lieutenant-governor will force an election. That’s the risk that we take, an election that nobody wants.”
— With files from The Canadian Press