US & Canada

British Columbia: Greens to back minority NDP government

British Columbia NDP Leader John Horgan and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark at their election night rallies in Vancouver Image copyright Reuters
Image caption British Columbia NDP Leader John Horgan says he has brokered a deal with the Green Party to oust British Columbia Premier Christy Clark's party from government

British Columbia Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver says his party will support a "stable minority" government led by the New Democratic Party (NDP).

The deal means the end of of 16 years in power for the Liberal Party in the Canadian province.

The Liberals won 43 seats to the NDP's 41 in a recent election but failed to retain their absolute majority.

This means British Columbia will have its first minority government since the 1950s.

Both Mr Weaver and NDP Leader John Horgan announced the deal on Monday afternoon.

"This is an opportunity for people coming from an opposition to bring new eyes to government," Mr Horgan said.

"I think we have a case now that this parliament and this legislature can work," Mr Weaver added.

The Green Party says it will support the NDP for four years. Mr Weaver was careful to stress it would not be a coalition government and the Green Party would not have any seats in cabinet.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption BC Green leader Andrew Weaver (left) and BC New Democrat leader John Horgan announced the deal on Monday afternoon

The BC Liberals failed to clinch a majority when they lost a crucial district to the NDP on 24 May, two weeks after the 9 May election, after all absentee ballots were tallied.

It left them with 43 out of 87 seats in the provincial legislature. The left-leaning NDP won 41 seats and the Green Party won three. Almost 60% of people voted against the Liberal Party in the May election.

After many years in power, the BC Liberal Party has struggled recently amid high-profile donation scandals and a strong environmental movement in the province that vehemently opposes the oil and gas industry.

The provincial Liberals are a separate party from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's federal Liberals.

The terms of the deal between the Green Party and the NDP will be made public soon, Mr Horgan said, but in essence, the Green Party has agreed to side with the NDP on matters of budgets and confidence.

He said he was in talks with both the NDP and the Liberals and that he came "very very" close to working with the latter. But certain issues, notably the Liberals' support for expanding a controversial pipeline project, held him back.

The deal still needs to be voted on by the NDP caucus on Tuesday.

Liberal Premier Christy Clark said she will "carefully consider" her next steps and have more to say after the NDP vote.

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