Parties reach out to ‘king-maker’ Greens in Canada’s British Columbia


Reuters




May 17 (Reuters) - British Columbia's two biggest political
parties are courting the tiny Green Party which holds the
balance of power after an election handed the Western Canadian
province its first minority government in 65 years.
    The left-leaning New Democrat Party (NDP), which finished
just two seats behind the ruling Liberals in last Tuesday's
election, on Wednesday launched a petition asking British
Columbians to show their support for getting "big money" out of
politics and for a proportional voting system.
    Those are two of the top three issues for Andrew Weaver, the
leader of the Greens, which with three seats can provide a
majority to either main party in the Pacific province's
legislature.
    Weaver said earlier on Wednesday he had three non-negotiable
items for any party wanting to work with the Greens: official
party status, banning corporate and union donations to political
parties, and a plan to move the province's electoral system from
the existing first-past-the-post system.
    He said he had held discussions with both Liberals leader
and British Columbia premier Christy Clark and NDP leader John
Horgan.
    Final voting results are due by May 24 and could still
change the election outcome. Preliminary results show the
Liberals, who have been in power for 16 years, with 43 seats,
just one seat shy of a majority in the 87-seat legislature.
[nL1N1IB253]
    The NDP's Horgan said on Tuesday that while he had held
talks with both Weaver and Clark, his staff had only spoken to
the Greens' staff. "I have no such relationship with the B.C.
Liberals," he said.
    Clark said on Tuesday she has had "good conversations" with
both leaders and that the Liberals would work across party lines
even if they gained another seat after the final vote tally. The
provincial Liberals are unrelated to Canadian Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau's federal Liberals.
    On issues such as oil and gas developments, the Greens are
much closer to the NDP than to the right-of-center Liberals.
Both oppose Kinder Morgan's <KMI.N> C$7.4 billion ($5.45
billion) Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in the province,
which the Liberals approved. [nL2N1IJ1L1]
    Weaver has, however, backed the Liberals in the past on
certain economic issues.
    ($1 = 1.3583 Canadian dollars)

 (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Andrew
Hay)
 ((nicole.mordant@thomsonreuters.com; +1-778-374-3854; Reuters
Messaging: nicole.mordant.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: CANADA POLITICS/BRITISHCOLUMBIA






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