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Results a sign voters want parties ‘to work together,’ Clark says

B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said Wednesday that he shares the NDP’s belief that the Liberal government failed the province on a range of issues.
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British Columbia Premier Christy Clark addresses the media at her office in Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Premier Clark narrowly won a minority government in Tuesday's provincial election. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said Wednesday that he shares the NDP’s belief that the Liberal government failed the province on a range of issues.

He agreed with NDP Leader John Horgan that a majority of the voters in Tuesday’s provincial election cast a ballot for change rather than the status quo.

And he dismissed concerns that any animosity between him and Horgan might prevent the two from working together in a minority government.

But Weaver said it was too soon to say whether he will back the NDP or Liberals in B.C.’s new minority parliament.

“It’s too premature,” he said. “We have to wait and see. We don’t even know the final results yet… It could change.”

> More election news at timescolonist.com/bcelection

Premier Christy Clark fell one seat short of securing a second majority government on Tuesday, with the Liberals winning 43 seats to the NDP’s 41 and leaving the potential balance of power to Weaver and his two new Green MLAs on Vancouver Island.

The results could change with 176,104 absentee ballots still to come and the NDP’s Ronna-Rae Leonard clinging to a nine-vote lead over Liberal Jim Benninger in Courtenay-Comox. If that seat flips to the Liberals after the final vote tally in two weeks, Clark will regain a bare majority government — even without the Greens’ support.

In the meantime, Clark remains premier and she promised Wednesday to listen to voters and do a better job of working with the other parties.

“British Columbians sent a very strong message to all sides of the legislature: They want us to work together collaboratively and across partisan lines,” she said.

Clark said she is prepared to meet with both Horgan and Weaver, but she sounded most conciliatory toward the Greens, noting that they doubled their popular vote and added two seats.

“I’ve had a good relationship in working with Dr. Weaver in the past,” she said.

“He’s a smart, thoughtful, reasonable guy, and so we’ve found places where we can work together.”

Weaver said he’s prepared to negotiate with both the Liberals and NDP to see which has the most in common with the Green platform.

He confirmed that he spoke by phone with Horgan and that they agreed the Liberals have failed the province on a range of issues.

“We both believe that the disparity between those who have and those who haven’t clearly has got out of control,” Weaver said. “We both agreed that education is our top priority. … We both agreed that big money needs to be banned from politics.”

At a separate press conference, Horgan said the two men also believe the Liberals have failed on child care, and the housing crisis.

“We agreed that they’re not prepared to defend our coast against increasing tanker traffic,” Horgan said.

“We have a range of issues in common, but my focus is on the people of British Columbia, and if Mr. Weaver and others want to join with me, I’m happy to do that.”

Asked about reports of bad blood between the two men, Weaver said that he and Horgan are both “passionate” people.

“If you’re putting people first, that doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’d love to work with John, actually. We had a great conversation last night on the phone.”

lkines@timescolonist.com