B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver celebrates his party breakthrough with new Green MLA Adam Olsen. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

B.C. VOTES 2017

ELECTION: 43 Liberals to rule as minority vs NDP’s 41, three Greens

Christy Clark aims to continue to govern as premier without a majority

Christy Clark and the BC Liberals aim to continue to rule B.C. with a minority government after neither major party gained enough seats in Tuesday’s election to secure the 44 seats required for a majority.

The seat count remained virtually deadlocked at the end of the night, with the Liberals declared elected in 43 seats, and the NDP elected in 41, with ongoing uncertainty in some close races that could yet go back and forth.

The BC Greens scored a major breakthrough. They are now elected in three ridings – leader Andrew Weaver’s seat in Oak Bay-Gordon Head plus new wins by Adam Olsen in Saanich-North and the Islands, and Sonia Furstenau in Cowichan Valley.

That’s just short of four seats that would give the Greens official party status.

With a majority elusive, the three probable seats for the Greens now raises the serious possibility that Weaver and his caucus may hold the balance of power in a minority government.

So far the BC Liberals have stacked up about 40.8 per cent of the popular vote, to 39.9 per cent for the NDP and 16.8 per cent for the Greens.

The Liberals broke out to an early lead, but the seats in favour of the NDP grew swiftly as more votes were counted.

New Democrats made inroads in key Metro Vancouver suburbs where they needed to capture Liberal seats to come close to forming government.

Among the casualties of the night was prominent BC Liberal cabinet minister Peter Fassbender, the former education minister, who conceded defeat to the NDP’s Jagrup Brar in Surrey-Fleetwood.

Also out are Liberal cabinet ministers Suzanne Anton and Amrik Virk.

Key seats that ended the night too close to call include Courtenay-Comox, where the NDP’s Ronna-Rae Leonard holds a razor-thin nine-vote lead over Liberal Jim Benninger. That race is expected to go to a judicial recount.

A few other close races could also hinge on the still-to-come count of absentee ballots. Those mail-in ballots take up to two weeks to be counted, so a final result will not be declared until then.

Clark declares Liberals will continue to rule

The three party leaders did not speak to supporters until after midnight.

Liberal leader Christy Clark said she intends to form the next government.

“Tonight we won the popular vote,” she said. “And we have also won the most seats. And with absentee ballots still to be counted I am confident they will strengthen our margin of victory.”

She said voters sent the message they want a bigger economy, not a bigger government, while keeping middle class taxes low.

Clark thanked her supporters, as well as those on the opposing campaigns for standing up for what they believe in.

“It is tough and gutsy to put your name forward for public office and I want to say thank you to all of the candidates,” she said, adding any one who gets into politics to be loved would be “better off getting a dog.”

The Liberal leader also injected a note of humility on the drop in Liberal seats.

“Voters know best. And they reminded us tonight that we are far from perfect,” Clark said.

“British Columbians did tell us they want us to do things differently. They want us to work together. They want us to work across party lines.”

RELATED: B.C. Views: Unstable minority unlikely to last

NDP leader John Horgan urged supporters to hang tight, noting the votes have not all been counted yet.

“The majority of British Columbians voted for a new government and I believe that’s what they deserve.”

Horgan said B.C. voters sent a signal they want to take big money out of politics, take action on climate change and move towards proportional representation.

Weaver heralded the breakthrough of his candidates on Vancouver Island.

“In the days ahead there will be plenty of discussions taking place between all parties,” Weaver said. “Now is not the time for those discussions. Now is the time for all Greens across the country to celebrate.”

  • Explore our interactive results tracker above to navigate to results for individual ridings.

Officially, Clark remains premier until the government loses a confidence vote in the legislature.

The BC Liberals would have the first option to seek the confidence of the house, which means seeking the support of the Green Party.

However a minority scenario would likely mean negotiations between Green leader Andrew Weaver and both the NDP and Liberals. Weaver has said his preconditions for Green support of a minority government include an end to corporate and union political donations, and a referendum on changing to a proportional representation voting system.

The leaders spent election day on a final push to get out votes after a sometimes bruising 28-day campaign fought on jobs, the economy and the influence of big donors in provincial politics.

NDP tried to make campaign referendum on Clark

The B.C. Liberal party has been in power for 16 years and had hoped to build on four straight majority governments by running on the party’s record of economic growth and financial stability.

The NDP tried to make Clark’s leadership as premier the central issue of the campaign. Horgan accused her of being out of touch with average people on issues such as the cost of housing and inadequate education funding.

Weaver’s pitch features a disavowal of politics as usual. He told voters his party is the only one offering something that’s different on climate change and on preparing the province for a new economy spurred by technological change.

Negative ads and attacks between the NDP and the Liberals over political fundraising laws that place no limits on corporate and union donations have also been a prime part of the political debate.

The NDP accused the Liberals of dragging their feet on political fundraising by failing to back bills in the legislature that would have banned donations from the corporate and labour sectors. The Liberals shot back by highlighting donations the New Democrats received from the United Steelworkers.

If the Clark Liberals falter and prove unable to govern as a minority, British Columbians could yet be in for a new NDP government that would aim to block the Kinder Morgan pipeline twinning, and potentially unravel BC Liberal megaprojects like the Site C dam and Massey Bridge, while raising taxes on the wealthy and providing new subsidies for child care and to aid renters.

Continued rule by the BC Liberals under Clark would largely maintain course, amid some promises to reduce MSP premiums and cap tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges.

One of Clark’s surprise moves during the campaign was to pledge to ban or tax out of viability U.S. thermal coal exports through B.C. ports in retaliation for U.S. duties on softwood lumber.

– with files from Black Press staff, The Canadian Press

BC Votes 2017

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nelson’s American sister city faces COVID-19 culture war

In Sandpoint, Idaho, wearing a mask is about Black Lives Matter, gun rights, and COVID-19

UPDATE: Body of Slocan River drowning victim recovered

The man was swimming near Winlaw on Wednesday.

Nelson’s SMRT1 Technologies to provide vending tech to Vancouver company

UpMeals will launch 22 machines across Canada using SMRT1’s personalized machines

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Kaslo council says it was overlooked in long-term care announcement

“We’re fed up … They have ignored every attempt we’ve made to contact them”

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

Bear put down after being found on Vancouver Island kitchen counter

Bear trapped and killed near Ucluelet after repeated instances of entering sheds and homes

Who can dismiss the Governor General? A look at protocols and possibilities

The Governor General is appointed by the Queen, on the advice of the prime minister

Second phase of NHL draft lottery set for Monday

Each club eliminated from qualifying round has a 12.5 per cent shot at the No. 1 pick

University of Victoria, rowing coach sued over alleged ‘fat shaming’ and verbal abuse

Lawsuit says Barney Williams subjected coxswain Lily Copeland to offensive and belittling language

1 year since a B.C. teen died in a skate park, his family still waiting for charges

Carson Crimeni’s final moments were broadcast on social media

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Most Read