By Roy L Hales
The final outcome of British Columbia’s election will not be known until absentee ballots are counted. Premier Christy Clark currently leads, with 43 seats as opposed to the NDP’s 41 and the Green party’s 3. Unless these results change, BC’s Fossil Fuel Dreams May Be Over.
BC’s Fossil Fuel Dreams May Be Over
It has been four years since Clark promised the province a potentially trillion dollar LNG industry. According to a recent estimate from the Pembina Institute, the largest of her proposed LNG terminals might have doubled the province’s greenhouse gas emissions. None of these projects went forward.
Andrew Weaver, whose Green party holds the balance of power, told reporters, “British Columbians were sold a bill of goods on LNG. It wasn’t going to happen then, it’s not going to happen now. … LNG is not happening, so let’s move on to the new economy.”
This could also mean the end of the province’s controversial Site C Dam project. Both the NDP and Green participants voiced their opposition during the province’s recent Clean Energy and Climate debate.
“Site C is being constructed for an industry that does not exist, the LNG industry, and so desperate are the BC Liberals to actually land LNG that they sign contracts to subsidize LNG … to the tune of 6 cents a kilowatt hour,” said Weaver.
For Approving Kinder Morgan’s Pipeline
Significantly, the NDP were elected in all four Burnaby ridings, as well as the adjoining ridings in Surrey and Vancouver. Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline will pass through this region.
“This electoral map is a major rebuke of the government’s betrayal of British Columbians’ values and interests when they approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline. What’s clear is that this pipeline is deeply unpopular on the coast of British Columbia and beyond. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should take note and drop his support for the much-loathed Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal,” said Peter McCartney, Climate Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee.
Liberals Not Ready To Admit Defeat
The Liberals are not ready to admit defeat.
“We won the popular vote, and we have also won the most seats and with absentee ballots still to be counted, I am confident that they will strengthen our margin of victory. So it is my intention to continue to lead British Columbia,” Clark told supporters in Vancouver.
An Appetite For Change
“While the ultimate outcome of this week’s provincial election is yet to be determined, British Columbians have clearly shown an appetite for change. Indeed, voters have handed the major parties a golden opportunity to work together to reestablish B.C.’s leadership on clean growth and climate action,” says Joshua McNabb of the Pembina Institiute.
“It’s significant that John Horgan’s NDP and Andrew Weaver’s Greens won around 57% of the popular vote in combination. In their election platforms, both parties promised to reverse the trend of inadequate climate policies that we saw under the B.C. Liberals’ watch.
“The global shift to clean energy offers tremendous opportunity, and B.C. has a competitive advantage. Our power supply is relatively clean, and we are already cultivating the clean energy technologies and expertise that countries around the world are seeking.”
“To capitalize on those emerging opportunities, British Columbia’s next government will need to champion clean growth and innovation. Delivering on these priorities will support an affordable transition to renewable energy, while cutting carbon pollution and creating jobs across the province.”
A New Political System
“British Columbians voted today to get big money out of politics. British Columbians voted today for proportional representation…British Columbians voted for action on climate change, and they voted for an economy that works for everyone,” NDP leader John Horgan told his followers.
The NDP already endorse Weaver’s two preconditions for a coalition with the Green Party.
They previously brought forward legislation banning union and corporate political campaign donations on seven occasions, only to see it squashed by the Liberal majority.
If elected, the NDP promise to hold a provincial referendum on adopting a system of proportional representation.
As one of the CBC commentators noted, 12 Green MLAs would have been elected last night if the province had a proportional system.
My favourite election comment comes from SUN columnist Vaughn Palmer, who observed that the proposed Green- NDP coalition would be:
” … a very different kind of legislature — indeed, one where the house, its debates, its issues, and attendance suddenly matters. Not that the government would stand or fall on every vote. But in order to pass budgets and control the agenda, the house needs to be carefully managed. No more treating the place like a rubber stamp.”
The Liberals Could Still Win A Majority
Clark could still win a majority. There is very little difference between the tallies in three ridings. If there are sufficient absentee votes to change the outcome in either Courtenay/Comox or Maple Ridge/Mission, the Liberals could obtain the 44 seats necessary for a majority.
Alternately, if the NDP hold on to both those seats and take Coquitlam/ Burke, the result is a 42-42 seat tie.
Or, the two parties could effectively “trade” seats and end up with the same count they have now.
We will have to wait for two weeks before the final result is known.
Photo Credit: The Green Party Bus on Board A BC Ferry – Roy L Hales photo