BC election could be over as NDP and Greens announce ‘difficult’ deal to form government

VICTORIA – The B.C. NDP will get a chance to govern the province, and John Horgan become its new premier, after New Democrats picked up the support of the B.C. Greens Monday for a new four-year government.

“In the end we had to make a difficult decision,” said Green Leader Andrew Weaver. “A decision we felt was in the best interest of British Columbia today and that decision as for the B.C. Greens to work with the B.C. NDP for a stable minority government over the four-year term.”

The two leaders made the announcement in front of the golden gates at the entrance to the legislative chamber in Victoria.

“There’s lots of work to do and we’re not done yet, but I ‘m confident with the 44 members, a majority of members prepared to support confidence motions for a New Democrat government, that we’re going to get there,” said Horgan.

“I would suggest the sooner the better for this institution.”

The Liberal government of Premier Christy Clark now lacks the votes to survive in the legislature and she will either have to resign or be defeated in the house. Horgan will eventually be sworn in B.C.’s 36th premier.

“I’m very excited about the prospect of stable government,” he said.

The NDP support is for “supply and confidence” issues, meaning the budget and throne speech, said Weaver. Horgan said other legislation may pass or fail depending on the issue, and there may also be Green or Liberal legislation that could pass the house.

Exact details will be released Tuesday after the NDP and Green caucuses ratify the deal, the leaders said. But the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion loomed large in the talks, said Weaver, with the Greens firmly opposed to the project. The Liberals support the pipeline.

The Liberals failed to pick up a clear majority of the 87-seats in the May 9 election. The Liberals had 43 seats, the NDP 41 and the Greens three. That left Weaver holding the balance of power, with any party needing his support in order to survive.

Power sharing talks have been underway since, between the Greens and the NDP, as well as the Greens and Liberals. Weaver and NDP leader John Horgan spent the weekend watching a rugby tournament in Langford. The Liberals were to hold talks with the Greens Monday morning, but Premier Christy Clark, who has not attended the negotiations in person, remained in Vancouver.

Weaver said he made his decision late Sunday night, after a bargaining session with the B.C. Liberals, but formally told the Liberal team Monday morning. He pledged “secure and stable job growth” and shot back at the Liberal criticism during the election that the Greens and NDP are the parties that will kill jobs. “Just watch,” said Weaver.

The deal will not include Weaver or his two other Green MLAs taking cabinet posts in a Horgan government.

Horgan said he had an extra spring in his step this morning with news of the deal.