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

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

Caitlin Toews, operations director of The Asante Centre, says more supports are needed for people with FASD. (Special to The News)
More supports ‘urgently’ needed for those living with FASD

Wait-lists for supports at Maple Ridge centre can mean the difference between life and death

Rich Goulet in 2015. (THE NEWS/files)
STM renames Chancellor Tournament for Rich Goulet

Iconic Pitt Meadows coach memorialized by the high school where he started

Scenes Gerald Bowers sees on his daily walks downtown. (Gerald Bowers/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge resident fed up of downtown garbage and vandalism

Downtown Maple Ridge BIA say graffiti incidents down

Members of UPlan have a Zoom meeting to discuss youth mental health in Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows. (Zoom screenshot - Special to the News)
Student group wants to bring awareness to youth mental health

UPlan members discuss some of the challenges facing young people during the pandemic

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Westbound Highway 1 traffic near Herrling Island is backed up a long way following a vehicle incident. (Photo/Trish Dunbar)
Pedestrian killed in crash near Agassiz

Woman in her 50s struck by moving van

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark. (Black Press Media files)
Former B.C. premier to testify at money laundering hearing today

Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to table budget that’s expected to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Robinson released a fiscal update last December that said the impact of the pandemic on B.C.’s economy was uncertain

Most Read