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BC Election 2017, Politics, News

Who would be BC Premier in BC NDP and BC Greens deal?

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Jenni Sheppard May 31, 2017 12:31 am 6,474

At this stage, you probably know the BC NDP have signed an agreement with the BC Greens with a view to forming the next BC government.

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But some of you may be confused about who the next BC Premier will be under that agreement, if our reader comments are anything to go by.

The simple answer is BC NDP leader John Horgan. Here’s why.

In the parliamentary system which we have here in BC, it is the Queen’s representative, the Lieutenant-Governor, who appoints a new Premier.

However, since the monarchy is constitutional, the decision over who to appoint is left to democratic elections.

Once the election result is known, the Lieutenant-Governor’s role is to ask the leader of the party with the support of most of the legislature to form government.

That person becomes Premier, and must go to the legislature to see if they have enough support to push through bills.

This level of support is also known as “having the confidence of the house”–which basically means that if you propose a bill, you know most MLAs will back you.

Usually, it is clear who has the support of most of the legislature, because that party has won a majority of seats in the election.

Therefore, with a strong party whip to ensure all party members vote together, they can guarantee most of the house will support their bills.

However, where there is no party with a majority, as currently, the province is left with a minority government and no clear winner.

It is therefore up to each political leader to try to garner enough support to potentially win the confidence of the house.

Until a likely candidate emerges for the position of Premier, the Lieutenant-Governor will conventionally remain silent on the issue.

(In theory, the Lieutenant-Governor could force the incumbent premier to resign, and trigger another election, but this is extremely controversial and rare.)

The BC Legislature in Victoria (BGSmith/Shutterstock)

The BC Legislature in Victoria (BGSmith/Shutterstock)

In BC’s current situation, neither the BC Liberals or the BC NDP have a majority, so they need to get the BC Greens on side to help them push through bills.

Both the BC Liberals and the BC NDP have been negotiating with the BC Greens over this.

Now those negotiations are over, it’s emerged the BC NDP have won the support of the BC Greens, with an agreement signed between the two parties this week.

That agreement features a list of promises the BC NDP have made to the BC Greens. In exchange, the BC Greens agree to support a BC NDP minority government.

Since this agreement refers to a BC NDP government, and John Horgan is leader of the BC NDP, Horgan would be Premier.

The agreement also sets out the relationship between Horgan and Weaver, noting there would be regular meetings between the Premier and the leader of the BC Greens.

According to the terms of the agreement, there would also be lots of consultation between a BC NDP government and the BC Greens Caucus throughout the term of office.

In theory, the Lieutenant-Governor could see this agreement, ask Clark to resign, and appoint Horgan straightaway, since it shows he likely has the confidence of the house.

However, as we mentioned earlier, it’s extremely unlikely the Lieutenant-Governor would ask Clark to resign; it’s too controversial and the monarchy prefers not to interfere.

In the meantime, incumbent BC Premier Christy Clark has said she won’t resign, and is going to open parliament and test the confidence of the house for the BC Liberals.

But if, as expected, this vote fails due to BC NDP and BC Greens opposition, then Clark will face no other option than to resign. She has said she would not demand a new election.

So, with Horgan having already set up an agreement with the BC Greens, this would leave him the party leader most likely to have the support of most of the legislature.

As such, the Lieutenant-Governor would ask Horgan to form a government, and he would open the legislature to test the confidence of the house in a throne speech.

Assuming Horgan gets the support of the BC Greens as agreed, and everyone in the BC NDP also votes in his favour, the vote would pass.

Therefore, having been appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor, and shown himself to command most of the house, Horgan could theoretically govern as BC Premier for the next four years.

See also

Daily Hive is your home throughout the BC election and the aftermath. Find all of Daily Hive’s BC Election 2017 coverage here: Battleground BC.


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Jenni Sheppard
Jenni is a former Senior Staff Writer at Daily Hive. Happy Vancouverite. Traveller, snowboarder, foodie, film fan, feminist, geek, cheesemaker, curler.

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