Langley NDP, Greens thrilled with minority announcement

The close election continues to change B.C.’s political situation.

Local candidates reacted Monday as the B.C. NDP and Green parties announced a deal that could see them share power in the province’s first minority government since 1952.

NDP leader John Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver announced the agreement Monday afternoon, though full details are expected to be disclosed Tuesday.

The deal means the NDP, with 41 seats from the recent election, and the Greens, with three, will have 44 seats total. That will give them a majority of one in the 87-seat legislature.

BC Liberal leader Christy Clark will still likely be given the first opportunity to govern, but won’t have the votes to pass a throne speech or budget.

The possibility of an NDP-Green led government was welcomed by Langley candidates for both parties.

“I’m thrilled,” said Langley NDP candidate Gail Chaddock-Costello.

She said local NDP members had been waiting to see the results of negotiations, as Weaver spoke to both Liberals and the NDP about the possibility of forming coalitions.

“We were always of the opinion … that the greatest degree of commonality lay with the NDP,” Chaddock-Costello said.

She added that she was looking forward to seeing a government that will have to be built on compromise.

The Greens have agreed to support the NDP on “budgeting and supply,” which includes most confidence votes.

Other votes could see the NDP and Liberals, or the Greens and Liberals voting together on smaller pieces of legislation.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what we can get done,” said Bill Masse, who ran for the Greens in Langley East.

Masse was the party’s policy chair during the campaign.

He said he isn’t looking to get directly invovled with the government, but may work on organizing local Greens before the next election.

Local Liberal MLAs Rich Coleman (Langley East) and Mary Polak (Langley) could not be reached immediately, but Liberal leader Christy Clark issued a statement.

“In recent days, we have made every effort to reach a governing agreement, while standing firm on our core beliefs,” Clark said. “It’s vitally important that British Columbians see the specific details of the agreement announced today by the BC NDP and Green Party leaders, which could have far-reaching consequences for our province’s future.

“As the incumbent government, and the party with the most seats in the legislature, we have a responsibility to carefully consider our next steps. I will consult on those steps with the newly elected BC Liberal caucus, and have more to say tomorrow.”

The last minority government in B.C. was formed when W.A.C. Bennett and his Social Credit Party won 19 seats in 1952.