Veteran climate scientist and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver looks likely to hold the balance of power in the British Columbia legislature, after last night’s election results pointed toward the province’s first minority government since 1952.
Weaver, first elected in his Victoria-area riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head in 2013, saw his party’s seat count in the legislature increase from one to three.
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With absentee ballots still coming in and judicial recounts to take place May 22-24, Christy Clark’s Liberals held 43 out of 87 seats, while John Horgan’s New Democrats had increased their count to 41.
Just after midnight local time, Weaver called the campaign result “a historic day for British Columbia,” but declined to say which of the other two parties the provincial Greens might prop up.
“I’m not answering questions like that. We’re starting negotiations tomorrow,” he told media. But for the moment, “I’m going home.”
Earlier, he assured supporters that “every decision B.C. Greens will make will follow principles issue-by-issue and [an] evidence-based approach,” adding that “in the days ahead, there will be plenty of discussions taking place between all parties.”
Weaver expressed a more specific bottom line for a minority government scenario last week, in a Facebook Live interview with CBC. “We’re ready to work with anyone and everyone,” he said at the time, as long as a negotiating partner was prepared to do away with corporate and union donations to provincial parties.
“Without any question, that’s a deal breaker,” he said. “We’ve got to get the money out of politics.”
In the weeks leading up to the provincial election, Democracy Watch co-founder Duff Conacher’s produced international headlines with his observation that British Columbia had become “the ‘wild west’ of Canadian political cash.” Those political donations have often connected back to natural resource development and provincial energy and climate policy.
The Globe and Mail notes this morning that, while Weaver has voted in favour of two past Liberal budgets, he’s also been a tough critic of Christy Clark’s resource development agenda. “He has denounced the government’s pursuit of a liquefied natural gas sector, for example, and is opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline,” the paper notes. “Both the Greens and the NDP have committed to a new relationship with B.C.’s Indigenous people that conflicts with the Liberals.”