Politics

The British Columbia Green Party is playing kingmaker

Andrew Weaver, leader of British Columbia’s Green Party, is set to remove the province’s Liberal Party from power, after striking a deal with the NDP.

The move, which is a rarity in Canadian politics, would oust the Liberals, who captured two more seats than the NDP in the last provincial election, held May 9.

“In the end, we had to make a difficult decision,” Weaver told reporters on Monday afternoon. That decision was to support the B.C. NDP.

The Greens, with just three seats, hold the balance of power.

Weaver and the Greens, after reaching an accord with the NDP, are set to defeat Premier Christy Clark in an early confidence vote in the B.C. legislature, paving the way for John Horgan, leader of the NDP, to head to the province’s lieutenant governor and ask for permission to form his own government, with the support of the Greens.

Weaver, however, does not appear interested in a formal coalition. He told reporters that the B.C. NDP will govern as a minority government, with Green support on matters of confidence.

The Greens have made it clear that, in exchange for their support, they want support for their democratic reform initiatives.

First and foremost appears to be their condition that the Greens be given official party status — something that is currently not afford to parties with less than four seats. The designation comes with more resources and power in the legislature.

The Greens also want a ban on corporate and union donations, something the NDP has also supported.

The third request, which may prove the most difficult to enact, is their plan to move the province to proportional representation without a referendum.

Horgan’s ascension to the premier’s office is not guaranteed, but it very likely.

Should Clark convince an opposition MLA to defect, or to vote in her favour during a confidence vote, she will be able to remain in power — though it remains to be seen for how long.

Beyond that, Clark has few avenues. The 1926 King-Byng Affair, in which Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King tried to avoid a confidence vote — and, thus, losing power — by asking the governor general to dissolve Parliament and pave way for a new election did not work.

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