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Unofficial election campaigning, pressure for merger on last day of spring session at B.C. legislature


Thursday marked the last day of the spring session for the B.C. legislature, and it felt at times like the start of the election campaign.

In particular, a rally-like scene co-ordinated by the provincial NDP unfolded, with the premier flanked by the NDP caucus, addressing the media before question period.

“In times like these, what people need is a party and a government that is on their side,” David Eby told the room.

The next time politicians assemble at the legislature will be after October's election, and some faces won't return, with several retirements leading to a stream of tearful goodbyes and heartfelt farewells

But beneath the fond farewells, political machinations simmered — the two right of centres parties, John Rustad’s BC Conservatives and Kevin Falcon’s BC United addressed rumours their parties might join forces.

Falcon acknowledged talks have been underway for two weeks between representatives for the two parties, adding he is frequently hearing from members of the public and business community in B.C. to take steps to avoid an NDP landslide win because of vote splitting.

“Don’t allow an NDP government to get re-elected on the basis of vote splitting,” Falcon said is a message he routinely hears.

And pressure is mounting for some kind of deal, including from former premiers.

“Absolutely have to come together,” Christy Clark said Thursday. “It is only a lack of agreement betweent these two men that is standing in the way of stopping that.”

But Falcon has ruled out a full-blown merger and Rustad — his party surging in the polls — maintains they will run all 93 candidates in the election.

Rustad also debunked rumours Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West — or anyone else — could swoop in and replace him as leader of a merged party.

“We're still going to be carrying forward with building a party that is challenging for government in October,” said Rustad.

Of course, if no deal happens the stakes are high.

“Whichever one of these two men turns out to seem to have been the one that couldn’t bring it together is, I think, going to be a villain, is going to be remembered as villain for a long time in political history,” Clark said.

For now, though, the only history being made was the end of the spring session and the 42nd parliament. Top Stories

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