B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver called the B.C. Liberal government “reckless” Wednesday even as he expressed willingness to negotiate with both the Liberals and the NDP about the possibility of forming a minority government.
Weaver, whose party is poised to hold the balance of power after last week’s election, said the Greens are ready to collaborate with anyone to develop good public policy.
“It would be irresponsible for us to preclude negotiations with any political party simply because they have not said something in the past,” he said. “We’re in discussions with both.”
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But he admitted to having serious reservations about Liberal positions on a number of key issues, including electoral and political finance reform, the Site C dam, and the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline.
“Our position on Kinder Morgan and Site C is not too dissimilar from the NDP’s position,” he told reporters at the B.C. legislature. “Our position on Kinder Morgan and Site C is quite dramatically far away from the Liberal position.”
Weaver called the Liberal government’s decision to build the $9-billion Site C dam “reckless” from an economic perspective. “It’s essentially trying to deliver taxpayer subsidized power to a non-existent [liquefied natural gas] industry.”
He also said it was “utterly irresponsible” for the Liberal government to back the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion in exchange for improved spill response, revenue sharing and other conditions.
“That we’re being told to ship diluted bitumen in our coastal waters is just reckless and this government is reckless for agreeing to it,” he said.
Weaver identified banning corporate and union donations to political parties as one of three mandatory requirements for a deal with either party, along with granting the Greens party status and moving ahead with electoral reform.
But he dismissed the Liberal plan to strike a panel to study the issue of political donations. “[That’s] akin to, ‘We have a plan to develop a plan to come up with a plan,’ ” he said.
He said he has doubts about the Liberals’ interest in changing the voting system, despite the fact Clark says she supported the idea of proportional representation when she was a radio talk show host. “I admit I am somewhat skeptical about what’s happened over the last few years, because we haven’t seen any movements in that direction.”
The Liberals currently have 43 seats to 41 for the NDP and three for the Greens, pending the outcome of absentee and final vote counts next week.
The Liberals still could get a majority in the 87-seat legislature if they recapture Courtenay-Comox, where the NDP currently holds a nine-vote lead.
Even if that happens, Weaver said the Greens will have bargaining power because the Liberals will have to use one of their 44 seats to appoint a Speaker.
“So that would take one person out and you’d still be in an untenable position,” he said. “So the Liberals will need to work with us either way, whether it’s a minority or a majority government.”