The B.C. NDP and Green Party are set to flex their collective muscle today, voting non-confidence in the B.C. Liberal government and forcing Christy Clark to resign as premier.
The vote is expected to be taken late this afternoon, on a motion by NDP leader John Horgan to amend the B.C. Liberal throne speech. The speech borrowed heavily from the NDP and Green election platforms for the May 9 election, where the B.C. Liberals lost the majority they held since 2001.
Having lost the “confidence of the house,” Clark is obliged to visit Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon and offer her resignation and advice on how the Queen’s representative in B.C. should proceed.
Clark told reporters Wednesday she will not advise Guichon to call a new election to break the near-deadlock produced by the last result. But she expects Guichon to ask her if the legislature can function with 43 B.C. Liberal MLAs, 41 NDP and three Greens.
“This isn’t a working legislature, and I haven’t seen any evidence that it could work,” Clark said.
Guichon has to decide whether the NDP and Greens should be given an opportunity to govern, or whether a new election should be called. A written cooperation agreement between the two opposition parties was delivered to her in late May.
NDP house leader Mike Farnworth said Thursday he is confident that even after appointing a speaker from the NDP bench, leaving 43 MLAs on each side, the alliance of NDP and Green MLAs can pass legislation. Rules of the legislature allow the speaker to vote only in the event of a tie, and is restricted to voting for further debate or to support the government.
Legislation can be introduced and moved to committee, where the NDP and Greens would have a majority, and only brought back to the main chamber for a final vote where the tie would be broken by the NDP speaker voting in favour, Farnworth said.