The king-maker: Weaver in no rush to partner up
Published Wednesday, May 10, 2017 11:06AM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 10, 2017 2:30PM PDT
All eyes are on Andrew Weaver after Tuesday's wild election seemingly placed the balance of power with his Green Party.
There's still a chance the final count could deliver another majority government to Christy Clark's Liberals, but it appears likely B.C. will be governed by the first minority in 65 years, putting the Greens in the powerful position of king-maker.
Speaking to reporters the day after the vote, Weaver, whose party tripled its support earning three seats in the legislature, said he has no intention of rushing into an alliance with either the Liberals or NDP.
"It's too premature," he said. "We don't even know the final results yet."
Whoever the Greens potentially choose to side with, Weaver said one issue is non-negotiable: ridding provincial politics of corporate and union donations.
"We've put it on record that the most important issue for us right now, the number one deal breaker, is banning big money in politics," Weaver said.
That campaign promise is shared by the NDP, as are a number of the Greens' other policy goals, including voting reform and increased education spending.
But asked whether he believes his party's priorities more closely align with the NDP than Liberals, Weaver dodged the question, noting that he has meetings planned with the leaders of both parties.
"Saying that now would preclude any kind of discussions, so pundits can [draw those comparisons]," he added.
Earlier in the day, Clark announced that Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon has asked her to continue governing, though how long she'll be leading the province remains very much up in the air.
There are more than 176,000 absentee ballots still to be tallied in the final count later this month, and it's possible a number of close ridings could change hands. There is even the potential for the NDP to win a minority.
Clark acknowledged the race isn't over yet, and said she interpreted the initial results of the vote as a call for bipartisan cooperation.
"I do intend to work across party lines… whether it's a majority or a minority government that I lead,” she said.
NDP Leader John Horgan held a news conference shortly after, where he revealed his intention to take the reins if the final count goes in his party's favour.
At the current seat count – 43 Liberals, 41 NDP and three Greens – Horgan suggested there is a clear mandate for change of leadership.
"I believe that puts me in a good position to make the argument… that I'm in a better position than Ms. Clark to lead a government that will address the issues that matter to people," Horgan said.
Recounting a phone conversation he had with Weaver on election night, Horgan said the two leaders agreed that the long-governing Liberals have failed British Columbians on a range of issues, from child care to housing affordability.
Weaver described that as an "accurate statement."