British Columbia Premier Christy Clark is poised to form a minority government in the Canadian province for the first time in 65 years following a vote recount in a fiercely contested election.
Clark’s Liberal Party, in power since 2001, failed to win a majority by one district, picking up 43 seats, according to final results from the B.C. elections commission. The New Democratic Party, led by John Horgan, a 57-year-old former pulp mill worker and cancer survivor, won 41 of 87 districts. That leaves the Green Party holding the balance of power with three seats following the May 9 vote.
There may still be the prospect of a judicial recount if the margin of victory in any of the districts was less than 1/500th of total ballots considered, according to election commission rules.
The Pacific Coast province that boasts Canada’s fastest-growing economy, hasn’t seen a party govern with a minority of the seats in the legislature since 1952. The possibility that the Liberals or NDP may seek the support of the Greens to form a coalition could cloud the outlook for projects like Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion and Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s proposed $27 billion project to export liquefied natural gas to Asia.
“The final result reinforces that British Columbians want us to work together, across party lines,” Clark, 51, said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to move forward and form a government.”
The results mark new territory for the Green Party, which has never had more than a single member elected to a Canadian legislature. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, 55, a Cambridge-trained climate scientist turned politician, has said Kinder Morgan’s pipeline has “no place on our coast” and has dismissed the Liberals’ efforts to develop an LNG industry as “nonsense” and a “colossal failure.”
Weaver had refused to say earlier which party he would support in a potential minority government.
The Green Party and NDP share similar ideas in some areas — such as opposition to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline, raising carbon taxes, and taxing housing speculators. But Weaver has also hinted that on economic issues his party is “closer to the Liberals than the NDP.”