An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WE OFFICIALLY have a minority government in British Columbia for the first time since Social Credit came to power in 1952. Now what?
The final vote count Wednesday confirmed the Liberals have 43 seats, one short of a majority. For them to stay in office, they need the support of the Greens, officially or unofficially.
A lot of people seem excited about this. They somehow think a minority government will result in better legislation and leadership. They tend to think it will prove the benefits of proportional representation, and that we’ll all suddenly want to make it official.
Not going to happen.
Both the Liberals and the NDP have been trying to make Green leader Andrew Weaver their new best friend since the May 9 election. Weaver has three options: form a coalition with the Liberals, form a coalition with the NDP, or neither of the above.
If he’s smart, he’ll pick number three, and Weaver is a smart man. Teaming up with Christy Clark and the Liberals is unthinkable to much of the Greens’ base of support. The NDP would be only a slightly better option, and it’s being said that Weaver isn’t especially fond of John Horgan. On the other hand, Horgan seems optimistic it can be done.
Fringe parties that form coalitions to prop up minority governments don’t usually do well when another general election follows soon after.
Interesting, though, that Weaver and his party take the position that proportional representation should be put in place without benefit of a referendum. If that’s a condition of the Greens’ support for either party, Clark and Horgan should both throw him out of their offices.
But let’s say he does the smart thing and stays out of any coalition. In a statement late Wednesday afternoon he said: “I look forward to working with both other parties so that we can finally get big money out of politics, move towards electoral reform and implement good public policy on a wide range of issues that puts people first.”
If the Liberals are left trying to hold on to power day by day — and that’s assuming they can get a budget passed — it won’t take long for the government to fall, which might lead to an NDP minority government, or even a new election.
And the rose-colored glasses will soon come off.