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B.C.'s deputy premier 'optimistic' about federal election results
VICTORIA, B.C. - With Ottawa readying for a minority parliament, the provincial B.C. NDP that has far outlasted expectations after striking a deal with the Greens to keep them in power, says the key is open communication.
Deputy premier Carole James told CTV News B.C. is an example for how a minority government can work.
"I'm feeling optimistic about the results," she said.
That's because the federal NDP is potentially in a powerful position. With 24 seats, the party has enough to help a minority Liberal government pass legislation and remain alive.
This is a reversal from the 2017 provincial results where the Greens were able to prop up the NDP to keep John Horgan as premier far longer than many observers thought possible. They also defied the odds – the Liberals won the most seats in that election but not enough for a majority, followed by the NDP and then the Liberals.
"We have been successful because we’re focusing on the things British Columbians wanted us to work on," Premier John Horgan told reporters Monday.
As for potential discussions between the two federal parties, James said the best advice she had was to ensure good communication and finding common values. She pointed to education, childcare and climate action as areas the BC Greens and NDP were able to find shared goals.
For the federal Liberals and NDP though, there's an issue as large as a pipeline standing in the way.
While Justin Trudeau's government has insisted the project will go through, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has opposed it.
"No question, I think those are going to be very tough discussions, but I think that’s where you have to come back to your values again," said James.
We don't know yet if Trudeau’s Liberals will pursue some type of alliance – either formal or informal – or try to go it alone.
When it comes to B.C.'s relationship with Ottawa, some observers argue the outcome of the federal election could bode well for B.C.
"The kind of outrage in some provinces is really high and so Horgan has an opportunity to exploit some of that chumminess with Trudeau I think," Gerald Baier, associate professor in UBC Department of Political Science.
Both the premiers of Saskatchewan and Alberta spoke on Tuesday about anger in their provinces towards the federal government. The Liberals don't have any seats in those provinces.
James said the province has been able to count on the feds for investments for transit as part of a climate action and she thinks that work will continue.
"I presume they'll pick up where they left off."
The federal Greens were able to pick up a seat, but not in B.C. – which is often seen as the epicenter of the Green movement. Provincially, there are three Green MLAs.
"Obviously there's disappointment in a couple of ridings in Victoria they did very well but they didn't win the ridings," said Andrew Weaver, B.C. Green leader.
Still, he remains adamant this may have more to do with strategic voting than the demise of the Greens.
"I'm not worried about the future of either the federal or B.C. Greens," he added.