For the first time in 65 years, BC has not (yet) elected a majority government. Things may change when recounts are done and absentee ballots are totaled. But let’s say they remain the same. Liberals 43, NDP 41, Greens 3. The popular vote looks like: Liberals 40.84%; NDP 39.86% and Greens 16.75%.
Where to from here?
Despite reports to the contrary, we do not have a minority government — we have a hung (or minority) parliament. What the government looks like, if any, is still not known except in the short term. How short is not known, and depends on deal-making and negotiating skills.
Liberals can hang on to Government until defeated in the Legislative Assembly, scrambling for non-Liberal allies on Speech From the Throne, money-related bills or specific non-confidence votes (or until it becomes clear that they won’t get any, and defeat is inevitable).
Provincial minority governments are fairly common. Only Alberta has never has one.
It’s worth noting that, Federally, some minority governments have been quite productive, including Pearson minorities that brought us universal health care and the Canada Pension Plan.
But success means a mature approach to governing — the ability to negotiate compromises in policy positions. Yes — grown-up discussions about differing viewpoints. A meeting of polar opposites. Fewer heavy hands; more open hands.
Wouldn’t that bring some cooling fresh air to the usual hot air around rigid ideologies that we are used to enduring?
As we read this, Liberals and NDP are probably trying to create a formal coalition with the Greens. These, apparently, are vanishingly rare. Or, put another way, can Mr. Weaver stitch together a working government? Could the Liberals agree to his non-negotiable position on banning big money from provincial politics. And let’s not mention climate change here.
Or the Legislative Assembly might swirl into unworkable chaos and off we go to another election.
But whichever way this goes, a recognisable breeze has blown from the Left. Not quite strong enough to clear out the stink, but unmistakably bringing a reduction in favour for the Liberal big-money, corporate, right-leaning Liberal-only-as-neo-libertarian party.
Not to mention personal electoral defeat for cabinet ministers Peter (crush Translink) Fassbender, Suzanne Anton, Amrik Virk, and Naomi Yamamoto.