Liberals won't 'prop up' NDP government with a Speaker: De Jong

Andrew Cummings
June 16, 2017

"And I think [it] really speaks to an element of desperation that is setting in around the realization that what Mr. Horgan and Mr. Weaver have crafted simply isn't a workable approach to governing".

The leaders of the BC NDP and Green Party say their alliance is strong regardless of what the Liberal party chooses to do with the Speaker should it be defeated in a confidence vote.

New Democrat Leader John Horgan has suggested that if his party were to form a minority government with the support of the Greens, a Liberal Speaker could remain in the seat to avoid tie votes in the legislature.

"What I have said all along is certainty is very important to us", Weaver said.

The Speaker's vote will be crucial in the legislature because of the tight election result.

Following B.C.'s May 9 election, the B.C. Liberals ended up with the most seats, at 43.

The New Democrats won 41 seats, while the Greens took three, and the two parties reached an agreement to work together in a minority government.

De Jong added that there's no appetite on the part of his Liberal colleagues to serve as Speaker under an NDP government.

Horgan said it seems Clark also wants to sow the seeds of discontent between him and Green Leader Andrew Weaver but said it's not working.

Weaver said the Liberals are creating a "distraction" by raising the issue of who should fill the role in a transition government.

Weaver agreed that the NDP-Green alliance can work, even with an NDP MLA in the Speaker's chair, and he accused de Jong and the Liberals of "trying to work the people of British Columbia into a tizzy about a non-existent crisis".

While no such bold policy shifts will happen under the current "caretaker" government, "on issues of critical importance, there is a government in place and those issues do get...operational attention", de Jong said.

De Jong and Premier Christy Clark have said they have sworn in a 22-member cabinet and are preparing a throne speech for June 22 to "test the confidence" of the legislature.

"Our first priority is to present the throne speech and lay out an agenda for what we'd like to do", De Jong said. "It's a government desperate to hold on to power it has lost", he said.

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