BC's opposition parties form a "stable minority government" - whatever that means
The BC Green Party got everyone overly excited this week by signing an agreement with the NDP to form a "stable minority government." The combined Greens and NDP hold 44 seats in BC's legislature, one more than the ruling Liberals. However, it is unclear what the agreement actually entails.
The Greens have expressed no desire to merge with the NDP, which would have allowed the NDP to takeover leadership of the province. Both parties have also committed to a full 4-year term, ruling out an early election (at least for now).
Fiscally, the Greens have more in common with the Liberals than the NDP. However, the Greens and NDP are united in their opposition to the TransMountain expansion vowing to "immediately employ every tool available" to stop the project.
Another project in the cross-hairs is BC Hydro's $8.8 billion Site C hydroelectric dam, required to power future LNG development. The Greens are opposed to Site C and LNG in general while the NDP have waffled on the topic, vowing instead to send the project through an environmental assessment process. Site C is located in Fort St. John and has the potential to deliver "carbon neutral" power to Alberta's oil sands. The project is already under construction, employing about 2,000 workers.
Other items on the duo's wish list include the elimination of medicare premiums, removing bridge tolls, free daycare, eliminating poverty, hiring more teachers and nurses, raising taxes on the rich and raising the carbon tax. The NDP would also like to redraw the electoral map, giving the heavily-populated Metro Vancouver area more seats.
BC's electoral map is sharply divided across geographic boundaries. The NDP won sparsely-populated coastal communities (except the Kitimat area) and several heavily-populated neighbourhoods in Metro Vancouver while the Liberals have a stronghold in BC's interior. The Green Party won three seats in the Victoria area. The Liberals won about 41% of the popular vote vs 40% for the NDP.
The Greens have 3% of the popular vote and are absolutely giddy with power, now accusing Alberta of being stuck in the 20th century.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley issued a statement that read "It’s important to note that provinces do not have the right to unilaterally stop projects such as Trans Mountain that have earned the federal government’s approval. This is a foundational principle that binds our country together. There are no legal tools available to provinces to stand in the way of infrastructure projects that benefit all Canadians."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also weighed in noting that the pipeline's approval was "based on facts and evidence on what is in the best interests of Canadians and indeed, all of Canada ... Regardless of the change in government in British Columbia or anywhere, the facts and evidence do not change."
Pipelines and ports fall under federal jurisdiction, but it is up to the province to grant construction permits.