Newly re-elected Kelowna-Lake Country Liberal MLA Norm Letnick says he supports Premier Christy Clark’s decision to go down swinging.
Clark announced Tuesday she intends to stay on as premier, despite a deal between the NDP and the B.C. Green Party giving the NDP support of a majority of MLAs in the B.C. Legislature.
“She has a constitutional responsibility to go to the Lieutenant-Governor since our party received the most seats and the most votes, and to try and form the government,” Letnick told the Capital News moments after leaving a Liberal caucus meeting where Clark announced her decision.
The Liberals won 43 seats in the election, the NDP 41 and the Greens three.
But Letnick said it appears clear what he called a “coalition” between the NDP and the B.C. Greens will defeat the Liberal minority government at the first opportunity.
That would force Lt-Gov. Judith Guichon to either call on NDP leader John Horgan to try and form a new government, one with the confidence of a majority of MLAs in the B.C. Legislature, or call another election. Guichon is expected to make the former call.
Letnick said despite the Greens saying they are only committed to supporting the NDP in confidence votes and on major supply bills, he considers the NDP-Green pact a true coalition.
And when asked if he could work with the Greens on future bills—the Greens having said they would consider supporting Liberal bills if they felt they were right for B.C.—Letnick said only time would tell.
But the local MLA, currently B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture, said no matter what happens, he would not stop working for residents of his constituency.
What results that will deliver, however, he’s not sure.
“I’ve never sat on the Opposition side before,” he said, adding he will have to learn how to get things done from that side of the Legislature.
Letnick, along with Steve Thomson in adjoining Kelowna-Mission, was first elected in 2009 and like Thomson and Clark, was easily re-elected earlier this month.
He said a great deal of the work he, Thomson and Clark started is currently underway, including the six-laning of Highway 97 between Highway 33 and Sexsmith Road, work on John Hindle Drive, various intersection improvements and improving access to primary health care.
He said as other issues come up, he will lobby for them in Victoria.
But he said the Liberals, who fell one seat short of a majority, learned a valuable lesson from this past election—that they need to rebuild trust in some parts of the province.
“For sure we have to step back and reconnect with those voters,” he said. “No party or government is perfect.”
Asked if the one-seat majority the NDP and Greens combined have will make passing legislation difficult in the coming session, Letnick simply answered “yes.”