Lt. Governor Judith Guichon’s role is ceremonial, except in times of minority when she may be called upon to decide if a new election is needed. (Black Press files)

ELECTION 2017: B.C. will have first minority government in 64 years

Negotiations between parties may determine if B.C. Liberals can continue

With the long-awaited final vote count indicating a fragile minority win for Premier Christy Clark in the May 9 B.C. election, talks with the three-seat B.C. Green Party take centre stage as the B.C. Liberals and B.C. NDP attempt to make a case for forming government.

More than two weeks after voting day, absentee ballots confirmed a win for NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard in Courtenay-Comox, giving the NDP 41 seats in the new 87-seat B.C. legislature. The B.C. Liberals finish with 43 seats, one short of a majority.

Talks with the three-seat B.C. Green Party have taken centre stage in recent weeks, as the B.C. Liberals and B.C. NDP attempt to make a case for forming government.

As party representatives try to negotiate an agreement with Green Party leader Andrew Weaver to support one or the other major party in crucial votes, the focus shifts to B.C. Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon. Her largely ceremonial role becomes pivotal as she must invite either Clark or NDP leader John Horgan to form a new government.

History as well as numbers are on Clark’s side for now. The B.C. Liberals won the most seats and Guichon would need a clear reason to call for a change, such as the defeat of the government in a vote on its pre-election budget.

With support from the Greens, the B.C. Liberals would be expected to convene the legislature by July to present a throne speech and pass their pre-election budget. Its key provision, a 50-per-cent cut to Medical Services Plan premiums starting in January, was a similar commitment to the NDP and Green platforms.

If the B.C. Liberal government is defeated on a budget or other “confidence” vote in the early days of the new session, Guichon would be expected to offer Horgan’s NDP a chance to govern rather than call another election immediately.

The last time B.C. had a minority government was 1952, when W.A.C. Bennett’s Social Credit Party won 19 of 48 seats in a legislature that included Liberal, Conservative and CCF parties. The following year, Bennett engineered the defeat of his own government and won the first of seven straight majorities.

Courtenay Comox NDP winner Ronna Rae Leonard

Posted by Comox Valley Record Newsroom on Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Just Posted

Community Leader Awards: Anja Dumas

The Kelowna Capital News puts the spotlight on community leaders with annual awards

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Blowing snow, slippery sections on Okanagan Connector

Compact snow, poor visibility on Highway 97 from Pennask Summitt to Brenda Mines.

IH adds immunization clinic Sunday in Kelowna

Drop-in meningococcal vaccination clinic on today at Community Health & Services Centre

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

UBCO prof tests software to help cancer patients

Program may help those reluctant to engage ‘tough conversations’ in advance care planning

Broken de-icer delays flights at Kelowna airport

Passengers were on board for three hours Sunday waiting for departure to Vancouver

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Well-known Canadian bird making a comeback

Once on the brink of extinction, the peregrine falcon no longer considered at risk in Canada.

Suzuki: Shine a light during dark times

People need to remain positive despite difficult and unpredictable political climate

Most Read