Global Media

BC minority could have major implications for Alberta

It's a dead heat in British Columbia: Major parties tied for seats, BC Greens hold balance

Morgane Oger, a New Democrat, lead most of the evening, but incument Liberal Sean Sullivan, a former Vancouver major, pulled ahead in late returns. There are also absentee ballots yet to count, so the actual mix in the Legislature will not be known for a couple of weeks.

Neither the NDP nor the BC Liberals can yet confidently claim victory with the two parties near deadlocked in the seat count and a minority government now expected.

They won a 17 per cent popular vote in a first-past-the-post country.

However, Weaver said that a deal breaker to co-operation was their policy to eliminate big money in B.C. politics. "We are part of history".

The mood at the NDP headquarters at the convention centre was jubilant throughout the night. He did suggest that the NDP and the Green Party may find common ground on two files in particular - banning corporate and union donations, and electoral reform.

The overwhelming majority of British Columbians voted for change - and now it's up to the New Democratic and Green parties to deliver it - by defeating the B.C. Liberals and throwing Clark out of office.

But it's likely British Columbia is heading into unfamiliar territory, with a high probability of the first minority government since 1952 when W.A.C. Bennett enlisted the support of the lone Labour MLA to take charge.

Clark's party won 43 seats while the NDP led by John Horgan collected 41 and the Greens under Andrew Weaver won three ridings in the 87-seat legislature. The Liberals have also presided over five consecutive balanced budgets.

Johnston said if the results remain a Liberal minority with the Greens holding the balance of power, Weaver has to be careful. "We will continue to have discussions, and we know how to compromise".

Ultimately, the main takeaway from this election is that the Green party hold the balance of power and can now decide which party should get to govern for the next four years - granted the current division of seats remain unchanged after May 22nd.

But as the cliché goes, the only poll that matters is the one on election day, and now that we're able to have a look at it, the numbers tell a surprisingly different story.

It has been four years since Clark promised the province a potentially trillion dollar LNG industry. But it has never seen an election like this, or an election night like this. The party commanding a majority forms the government and its leader becomes premier. It wasn't going to happen then, it's not going to happen now. Added Wever, later: "Let us move on to the new economy".

In the birthplace of Greenpeace, her government faced down fierce environmental opposition to approve in January the expansion of a Kinder Morgan pipeline that will allow Canada to ship crude to new markets.

"Constitutionally, the federal government might have the upper hand. but the BC government could force significant delays", he said.

"The bottom line is, yesterday to today, there's a lot more uncertainty around resource development and infrastructure build-out", said Pelletier.

"We view a minority government outcome as one of the most challenging potential outcomes for the Canadian energy sector", they wrote.

Weaver, at his celebration on Vancouver Island, said he had talked with both Clark and Horgan. But those projects have already been approved, they've already gone through court cases. But that handful of seats, mostly in Metro Vancouver, has changed the landscape of the whole province.

"But to do that, he has to back the loser", said Johnston.