BC Greens could be on course to hold the balance of power

In just under two weeks we'll have the recount and final vote tallies in a couple of ridings the NDP won in close races that could put the BC Liberals back into majority territory if there's a change.

British Columbia's election has brought unwelcome doubt for the business sector, given the prospect of an ascendant Green party influencing policy on pipelines, natural gas exports, hydroelectricity and other resource projects.

Speaking in Toronto Wednesday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notely jokingly thanked the voters of British Columbia for making Tuesday's election "interesting" and precluding her from congratulating a victor at this point.

By the end of the night, the B.C. Liberals had 43 seats, one shy of the number needed for a majority government.

The first sees the BC Greens tolerate Christy Clark as head of a minority government, that is a government in which the governing cabinet controls less than half of the seats.

Clark has said she intends to lead the next government, but Horgan has not conceded defeat.

Kathryn Harrison, also a professor at UBC, says the Greens must weigh the risks of either choice but the Liberals may wait to do any negotiating until after May 24, when a final count of ballots is expected.

"On the economic plan, I think we're closer to the Liberals than the NDP", he told Global TV. "But it's also our job to always remember who it is that we serve and that we need to stay focused on the things that matter to ordinary British Columbians".

"We offered people a change that they could count on and British Columbians delivered that change tonight", said Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.

The potential minority situation has Premier Christy Clark talking up how much she values the Greens, who until now, had been essentially a fringe party with a single MLA.

That's why Tim Stevenson is very hopeful that the B.C. NDP and Green Party will be able to work together in a new government following the closely contested May 9 election. "They want us to work across party lines". While the final count won't be concluded until May 22, 2017, voter turnout is estimated at around 57 per cent, up from 55 per cent in 2013.

In 1925, William Lyon McKenzie King tested and won the confidence of House of Commons, even though his Liberals had 15 fewer seats than the Conservatives under Arthur Meighen.

"Voters know best. And they reminded us tonight that we are far from ideal", Clark said. "We'll get decisions but they will take longer, they will often be more complicated because there will be layered issues in those compromises".

To which NDP leader John Horgan responded, "A majority of British Columbians voted for a new government".

It's not likely a premier would lie down in front of a bulldozer, but you have to wonder if that's beyond the possible when it comes to a Green Party leader.

He said his party's ban on corporate and union donations meant private contributions to his party "went through the roof" during the campaign and that the Greens did not go into debt.

University of B.C. political scientist Max Cameron said, if the minority government remains, the Greens could set the stage for a historic and fundamental shift in the development trajectory of the province away from fossil fuels to a green economy.

The Liberals have promised a non-binding panel on the issue.

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