B.C.’s immediate political future is uncertain.
At the close of Tuesday’s election, the Liberals had 43 seats, while the NDP captured 41 and the Greens got three — the province’s first minority government since the 1950s.
“We’re in uncharted waters. I don’t know what will happen,” said Liberal Eric Foster, who was easily re-elected as Vernon-Monashee MLA.
“Everyone knew it would be close but we never dreamed it would be like this.”
While absentee ballots must still be tallied, and a recount is expected in Comox, Foster believes there’s one guarantee.
“If the numbers hold, someone will have to make a deal with Dr. Weaver (Andrew Weaver, Green leader),” he said.
However, Foster also suggests the Liberals and NDP can work together on an issue by issue basis.
“If we don’t want to go back to the polls in six months time, this is the only way it can work. There has to be some kind of co-operation.”
Foster also points out that MLAs, and particularly cabinet ministers, can always be in the House, although tight numbers may force that scenario.
“There must be an agreement so the government can function.”
The Liberals have gone from a majority to a minority, but Foster won’t speculate about the future of leader Christy Clark.
“I don’t see any groundswell against her. She is the leader of the party with the most seats in the House,” he said.
Barry Dorval, NDP candidate, believes the minority government scenario creates opportunities.
“Will it be chaotic, sure. Will it pose challenges, sure. But there’s a possibility for real change in how we are governed,” said Dorval, adding that the NDP and the Greens campaigned for electoral reform.
“I just don’t think there will be a government where that central issue doesn’t exist.”
Dorval is also calling for all parties to work together.
“Issue by issue, the Liberals will have to seek the confidence of the House,” he said.
Green Keli Westgate is pleased B.C. doesn’t have a majority government.
“They (Liberals) were taking the province in a direction I didn’t want to see. I hope Site C and proportional representation will be on the table. The parties are going to have to co-operate,” she said.
Westgate admits there will be a lot of pressure on the Greens’ three MLAs to work with the Liberals or the NDP.
“I don’t know what they will do. I will hope for the best,” she said.