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B.C. VOTES

BC Liberals win minority government: What you missed on election night

The B.C. Greens' remarkable breakthrough will give the party and its Leader Andrew Weaver an outsized role in the legislature

  • Christy Clark’s BC Liberals have won a minority government, the province’s first in more than 60 years. Here’s a primer on what minority parliaments involve and what could happen next.
  • The Liberals won 43 seats, the NDP won 41 and the Greens won three. Several Liberal cabinet ministers were among the incumbents ousted.
  • The balance of power will be held by the B.C. Greens, a remarkable breakthrough that will give the party and its Leader Andrew Weaver an outsized role in the legislature. Mr. Weaver will be joined in the provincial capital by Adam Olsen and Sonia Furstenau.
  • Ms. Clark says Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon has asked her to continue governing.
  • The NDP won Courtenay-Comox by just nine votes, which will likely trigger a recount and leaves open the possibility that absentee ballots could change the result. In 2013, absentee ballots in the riding of Comox Valley (most of which became Courtenay-Comox) were split between the NDP, which had a slight lead, and Liberals.
  • More than 170,000 absentee ballots won’t be counted until May 22-24. In addition to Courtenay-Comox, other close ridings include Maple Ridge-Mission, where the NDP won with a margin of 120 votes, and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, which the Liberals won by 170.
  • The prospect of a minority government had been evident for weeks in a close election race, though Mr. Weaver was careful not to say which party he would support in that situation.
  • In a minority, Ms. Clark would be given the first chance to form a government.
  • B.C. last elected a minority government in 1952; the Social Credit government led by W. A. C. Bennett fell the following year and was re-elected with a majority.



The leaders

Christy Clark: "Tonight, we won the popular vote, and we have also won the most seats," Ms. Clark told supports at a BC Liberal Party gathering in downtown Vancouver. "And with absentee ballots still to be counted, I am confident that they will strengthen our margin of victory. So it is my intention to continue to lead British Columbia."

John Horgan: "British Columbians have waited 16 years for a government that works for them. I am going to have to ask you to wait a little bit longer until all the votes are counted and the final results of this election are known," Mr. Horgan told supporters in a brief speech. "This is what we do know: A majority of British Columbians voted for a new government."

Andrew Weaver: "I've spoken to both leaders. We're going to have conversations," Mr. Weaver told media. "We're going to have to wait for the judicial reviews to be done. Nothing can be decided for the next two weeks, until we actually know what [the outcome is]. But I will be meeting with Mr. Horgan shortly and I'll be chatting with Ms. Clark as well because we believe we have a lot to offer and I'm looking forward to advancing those ideas at the B.C. legislature."

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Who won, who lost: an overview

Results by:

Party Incumbents Experience Gender

The BC Liberals won a minority government, claiming 43 seats in the legislature. The BC NDP won 41 seats while the Greens took 3.

Liberal

NDP

Green

60 candidates will be returning to their seats in the legislature; 33 Liberals, 26 NDP and 1 Green.

Incumbents

Rookies

26 candidates are headed to the legislature for the first time. There are 4 returning MLAs who have been representing ridings in B.C. for more than 20 years.

New MLAs

1-4 years as an MLA

8-19 years as an MLA

20+ years as an MLA

The share of female MLAs in this legislature has increased slightly with women occupying 39% of seats compared with 38% at the time of dissolution.

Female

Male

Source: Elections BC and The Globe and Mail
Graphic by Danielle Webb

Liberals who lost

  • Peter Fassbender, Surrey-Fleetwood: Mr. Fassbender, the minister responsible for TransLink, the regional transportation agency for the Lower Mainland, lost his Surrey-Fleetwood seat. Transportation was a major issue during the campaign, with the Liberals pledging to cut tolls on the Port Mann Bridge in half and the NDP vowing to get ride of them altogether.
  • Suzanne Anton, Vancouver-Fraserview: The Justice Minister lost her Vancouver-Fraserview seat to the NDP’s George Chow. Ms. Anton, who turned to provincial politics after an unsuccessful run as mayor, has been attorney general since she was elected in 2013.
  • Amrik Virk, Surrey-Guildford: The Minister for Technology, Innovation and Citizen’s Services, lost to NDP candidate Garry Begg in the new riding of Surrey-Guildford. Mr. Virk was previously minister for advanced education. He was shuffled to the technology portfolio in 2014 following the release of a government report that found he knew about a compensation package for Kwantlen Polytechnic University executives that broke government guidelines.
  • Naomi Yamamoto, North Vancouver-Lonsdale: Ms. Yamamoto, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, lost North Vancouver-Lonsdale, to NDP Bowinn Ma.

Notable winners

  • Adam Olsen, Greens, Saanich North and Islands: In the 2013 provincial election, Adam Olsen came in third, losing by about 400 votes. This time around, the two-term Central Saanich councillor coasted past his NDP and Liberal rivals to secure the seat for Sananich North and the Islands. Mr. Olsen is half indigenous, which he says gives him “a unique ability to bring diverse voices together.”
  • Selina Robinson, NDP, Coquitlam-Maillardville: Selina Robinson was elected in 2013 by a margin of just 41 votes. This time around, the therapist and youth addictions counsellor won a comfortable victory. Ms. Robinson most recently served as the NDP’s critic for mental health and addictions.
  • Ravi Kahlon, NDP, Delta North: Ravi Kahlon, a national field hockey player who has represented Canada in the Olympics twice, defeated Liberal incumbent Scott Hamilton to take the battleground riding of Delta North. Mr. Kahlon says his focus is on families – improving B.C.’s education system, health and seniors care.
  • Jas Johal, Liberals, Richmond-Queensborough: Jas Johal worked as a reporter for Global TV for two decades, leaving in 2014 to take a position as communications director for the B.C. LNG Alliance, which represents seven groups seeking to export liquefied natural gas from B.C. This is his first foray into politics.

By region: Where the parties' bases of strength are


The Greens: What will they do with the balance of power?

The Greens' Mr. Weaver, the first Green MLA elected to a provincial legislature when he won the lone Green seat in 2013, now assumes a pivotal role – though its precise nature will depend on how the absentee ballots shape the final result.

Ms. Clark is still hopeful that the absentee ballots can help her eke out a majority. If it doesn't, Mr. Weaver's decision of whether to support a Liberal or NDP minority will decide who governs.

Mr. Weaver said he will not telegraph what his party will try to negotiate with either party, but he did say his party is not interested in pursuing a liquefied natural gas industry, a central plank in Premier Christy Clark's vision of British Columbia's economic future. Mr. Weaver did say he expects any new government to table a bill outlawing corporate and union donations as soon as the legislature sits again.


The election issues

Housing: The Liberals didn't make any new promises to address the housing market. They already introduced a 15-per-cent foreign buyers tax and a loan program for first-time home buyers. The NDP said they would create more affordable housing as well as creating more protections for renters. The Greens promised to double the foreign buyers tax to 30 per cent, and apply it province-wide.

Economy: The Liberals ran on a platform hailing their economic performance, including a balanced budget and strong GDP growth. The NDP, meanwhile, said they would increase the province's minimum wage to $15 per hour. The Greens promised to boost disability assistance rates. Both the Liberals and NDP pledged financial support to the emerging tech sector.

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Medical Service Plan: B.C. is the only province that charges citizens monthly health-care premiums. The Liberals are promising to reduce MSP rates for some, as well as eventually phasing out the premiums at an unspecified date. The NDP said it would cut premiums in half, and the Greens said they would eliminate them.

Environment: The Liberals support the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, while the NDP and Greens both oppose it. Clark supports the construction of the Site C Dam, while Weaver opposes it and Horgan is promising to review the project if elected.

Cash-for-access: The Liberals have returned nearly $250,000 in improper donations following a Globe and Mail investigation that revealed lobbyists were making contributions before being reimbursed by clients. Clark has also come under fire for inaction on fundraising laws, which place no limits on contributions. She's now promising to appoint a panel to review the rules. The NDP and Greens want a ban on corporate and union donations.


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