Time and patience were needed when dealing with the 2017 British Columbia election. NDP Leader John Horgan showed a lot of patience and eventually became the new premier of the province.
The May 9 election followed by recounts left us with a 43-41-3 mark. The Liberals had the first shot of forming government. Christy Clark had key points from the NDP and Green Party in the Throne Speech. The vote on those measures was defeated in a party-line vote.
Parliamentary tradition calls for the premier — Clark — to approach Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon. Guichon had options: dissolve the legislature, which would kick in a new election, or see if Horgan could form a new government. Clark said she wouldn't ask the lieutenant governor to dissolve Parliament, then changed her mind and did so. Guichon gave the whole matter considerable thought and ultimately decided to have Horgan (right) form a government.
We should probably explain a few details for non-Canadians as well as those Canadians who weren't paying attention in school. The Lieutenant Governor (pronounced left-ten-ant) is the Queen's representative in the provinces, similar to the Governor General for the federal government. You might remember in 2008 when the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois wanted to form a coalition government, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper convinced Governor General Michaëlle Jean to prorogue Parliament. After the Parliament came back, Harper and the Conservatives had a minority government and stayed in power.
The Speaker of the House takes on a very different tone in Canada. The speaker comes from the majority party yet is considered neutral and only votes in case of a tie. Clark challenged the idea of the NDP-Greens coalition on the grounds that a speaker would have to come from their side and having the speaker vote on almost every bill would be a burden.
A most recent example happened in New Brunswick in 2003 when the Conservative government had a single-seat majority. The Speaker, also a Conservative, often was the deciding voter in favour of the government.
The Green Party under Andrew Weaver will wield a certain amount of power in the new BC government, but in a a bit of a surprise, no Green Party will serve in the government cabinet.
Horgan is the premier-designate, so Clark is still serving as premier until the swearing in of the new premier. The new government will recall the legislature after Labour Day.
Clark is set to be the opposition leader. Normally, the losing party considers a leadership shuffle. The Liberals in British Columbia might be an exception since the new government may not last a long time.
Christy Clark becomes the answer to a trivia question "Name the first female premier to be re-elected?" Her reign after re-election will be about a couple of months.
Rachel Notley (Alberta) is toward the beginning of her first term while Kathleen Wynne (Ontario) will be up for re-election in 2018. Notley and Wynne are the only current female premiers in Canada.
photo credit: Mike McArthur/CBC