Christy Clark won't resign as BC Premier just yet

May 31 2017, 2:53 am

She’s not giving up without a fight.

Christy Clark says she won’t resign as BC premier yet, even though the BC NDP and BC Greens have agreed to work together to form the next BC government.

The BC Liberals leader made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon, telling the media that rather than resign, she had a duty to meet the house and test its confidence, and that she would do just that “in very short order.”

“What I said before the election remains true: I am happy to take on any jobs that the voters give me,” she said. “And… should the government fail the test of confidence in the house – and that seems likely – I would be given the job of Leader of the Opposition and I am more than ready to take that job on.”

If Clark can’t win the confidence of the house then she would be expected to resign as premier.

Asked if her decision to stay on at this point meant that she was simply “delaying the inevitable,” Clark responded that she was simply doing her duty as premier and leader of the incumbent government. “If it is inevitable, making it possible for that to happen as quickly as we possibly can.”

The BC Liberals have been in power for 16 years, and Clark has been BC premier since 2011, when she won the party leadership from then BC premier Gordon Campbell, who resigned.

What could happen next

Clark has come under pressure over the past few days, after the final BC Election count confirmed no party had won the election.

As it stands right now, the BC Liberals have 43 seats, the BC NDP 41, and the BC Greens 3, no one has a majority, and the BC legislature is hung.

In the last few days, the BC Greens have negotiated with both the BC Liberals and the BC NDP to establish whether they could work with a party to support a minority government.

On Monday, BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver announced they had agreed to support a BC NDP minority government with BC NDP leader John Horgan.

On Tuesday, that agreement was ratified by both parties and released in full. You can read it here.

A party requires 44 seats to form a majority government. That’s the magic number the BC NDP and BC Greens can reach by working together.

However, since no one party has a majority, this leaves Clark and the Lieutenant-Governor, Judith Guichon, with various options.

“Our province is at a really historic moment,” Clark told reporters on Tuesday. She also acknowledged that it’s a moment that comes with responsibilities. “We will live up to those responsibilities we have.”

Clark can decide to stay on, and test the confidence of the House through either a throne speech or budget.

Or, she could choose to resign of her own accord, prompting Guichon to either ask Horgan to form a new minority government, or dissolve the legislature and trigger a new election.

But when asked on Tuesday if she would ask for British Columbia to go back to the polls, Clark shook her head and responded, “no, no, no.”

In this case, it is expected the BC NDP and BC Greens would vote against the BC Liberals, forcing Clark to resign.

Again, this would lead to Horgan, with the support of Weaver, being asked to form a new government, or prompt a new election.

There is one other theoretical and controversial option–if Clark continues to cling to power as she is now, Guichon could ask her to resign.

That is incredibly unlikely however, and has rarely occurred throughout the history of parliamentary systems anywhere in the world.

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.

Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard
Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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