B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark says she and her 42 Liberal MLAs are willing to work with the incoming NDP government on issues her party spoke about in the recent Liberal Speech from the Throne—issues the NDP already support.
But Clark said that will only happen if the NDP can “do it right.”
“They need to do it right,” said Clark Saturday. “A good example is child care. We all support an expansion of child care. The NDP plan is a plan that would take 10 years to bring into effect, it will lead to four-year waiting lists. It’s a good idea to expand child care but we will have the ability to amend any bills that they bring forward.”
With an NDP speaker yet to be to be named, a move that will eliminate the NDP/BC Green majority of one MLA when it comes to voting on legislation, Clark said she feels her caucus has the numbers to influence any legislation brought forward.
“Our opposition will be big enough and strong enough to shape those ideas to make sure they are going to work,” she said.
Clark, whose 16-year-old Liberal government was brought down in a vote of non-confidence by the NDP and Greens Thursday, did not talk about other proposed Liberal policies where her party has done an about face to propose exactly what the NDP supported in the election campaign. Those included banning corporate and union political contributions, totally scrapping bridge tolls in the Lower mainland and giving the three-member Green caucus full-party status in the Legislature.
On election night seven weeks ago, voters left the Liberals with 43 seats, the NDP with 41 and the Greens with three. In a bid to govern, the Liberals put forward Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson as speaker and presented a Throne speech. But the NDP and Greens followed through with their vow to defeat the Liberals in a vote of non-confidence based on the that speech.
Subsequently, Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon asked NDP leader John Horgan to form a new government, one that will be supported by the Greens.
Thomson resigned as speaker when the Liberal government fell and now the NDP will have to put forward a candidate from its ranks to act as speaker.
The speaker is supposed to remain neutral in the legislature and while he or she does vote to break ties, is not supposed to vote every time the government needs to pass legislation. But that is the potential looming in this next session.
Clark confirmed she told Guichon she did not feel the Legislature is workable with the current numbers and said she asked for another election, despite the fact she said she does not want to return to the polls and feels British Columbians don’t want to either.
“I think really, going back to the voters is the only real way to get this resolved and one way or another, I think we or the other parties would get a majority. That settles the question,” said Clark. “But (the Lt.-Gov) didn’t take that advice and it’s up to her to decide.”
Meanwhile, Clark said she plans to stay on as Liberal leader as long as her caucus wants her to. And she is also staying on as Kelowna-West MLA. On Saturday she vowed to “keep fighting” for her constituents.
One of her first tasks, she said, will be to make sure those affected by recent flooding are “treated fairly.”