Cheery outlook for minority government will soon fade

Ronna-Rae Leonard has increased her lead in Courtenay Comox to 14 votes over Jim Benninger.
Handout  NDP  
PNG

Ronna-Rae Leonard has increased her lead in Courtenay Comox to 14 votes over Jim Benninger. Handout NDP PNG

The one potential wild card was Courtenay-Comox, which the NDP won by just nine votes in the initial May 9 count.

Here, the addition of absentee ballots - primarily those cast by mail, outside a voter's home riding or at a care facility - simply served to confirm the overwhelming victories by the three Liberal incumbents.

Judicial recounts are automatic in any riding won by fewer than 1/500 of the votes - about 58 ballots in Courtenay-Comox - and are conducted by a B.C. Supreme Court Judge.

There have been four judicial recounts since 1995, including one in each of the past three elections. Alternatively, he could also decide to go into coalition with neither which would leave Christy Clark to attempt to govern with a Liberal minority government.

The absentee ballots have been counted and NDP Ronna-Rae Leonard has held on to the riding of Courtenay-Comox, leaving the BC Liberals to form a minority government. That lead grew to as high as 13 votes, before flipping to Benninger Tuesday morning by three ballots, and then back to Leonard with a 101-vote lead by the end of Tuesday. The B.C. Liberals won the most seats and Guichon would need a clear reason to call for a change, such as the defeat of the government in a vote on its pre-election budget.

The leader of the B.C. Greens says he hopes to reach an agreement with one or both of the other parties in the legislature by Wednesday (May 31).

"The final result reinforces that British Columbians want us to work together, across party lines, to get things done for them".

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The Greens had a historic breakthrough with 16.84 per cent of the vote and three seats - tripling their representation in the legislature. We saw that in our polling where Green and NDP supporters were excited about their party's outlook and the Liberal supporters didn't share the same level of enthusiasm for their party.

In a statement issued shortly before the results were announced, Ms. Clark acknowledged her party came up short of a majority.

The final results from the 2017 B.C. General Election are in: The BC Green Party will hold the balance of power with neither of the two major parties able to secure the 44 seats needed to secure a majority government.

There are still 900 votes to count.

NDP Leader John Horgan is set to speak from the BC Legislature at 5 p.m. on the final results, with Green Leader Andrew Weaver speaking shortly after at 5:30 p.m.

Weaver is under pressure from some Green Party supporters and social justice organizations like Leadnow to form some kind of co-operative alliance with the NDP to advance common environmental and social policy planks.

Weaver has in the past set out several key conditions for his party's support, including official party status, a ban on corporate and union donations, and a move to a proportional system of voting.

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