In her first public remarks since the day after a historic provincial election, B.C. Premier Christy Clark said she had spoken with NDP Leader John Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver about working in a spirit of collaboration moving forward but offered no new details on how she plans to govern should she remain premier.
"People have told us in this election that they want us to work collaboratively ... they want to see a new way in reaching the goals we have in common, and we share so many goals in common," said Clark following a caucus meeting of incoming and outgoing MLAs.
"My message to all of those British Columbians is we are listening. We have heard your voice. You want change, and you want government to deliver what matters to you."
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Clark announced BC Hydro Chair Brad Bennett would lead a transition team, but otherwise didn't discuss substantive steps her government plans to take if they remain at 43 seats in the legislature after the final count by Elections BC.
"We're in listening mode. We're talking to other parties as people have asked us to in this election," she said, sidestepping questions on changes to the budget, the Kinder Morgan pipeline and electoral reform.
"I'm not able and shouldn't, I don't think, negotiate and share any of those private discussions with the media, but they were friendly conversations. What I talked about was that British Columbians want us all to work together. I think that was a very clear result from the election."
Greens could hold balance of power
Horgan also spoke to reporters on Monday, and while he also offered few new details on how his party might work with the Greens in a potential minority government if the seat count — Liberals at 43, NDP at 41 and Greens at 3 — remains the same, he did say discussions had taken place.
"We are in discussions with Mr. Weaver's group, our staff and their staff," he said.
"I believe that working with the other opposition party, we can come up with a resolution that will meet the interests of all British Columbians."
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Early Monday, deputy Green Party leader Matt Toner said they are looking for specific proposals from the Liberals and New Democrats on electoral and campaign-finance reforms before supporting either party in the legislature.
"All these details, they count," said Toner.
"We need to have fairly tight understandings of how any co-operation agreements would work before we say, 'Yes, we're in.' These things matter to us. They matter to our base. They matter to the people of the province."
The Green Party also named Norman Spector, a former deputy minister to former premier Bill Bennett and chief of staff to former prime minister Brian Mulroney, as one of four members of its negotiating team.
Final count a week away
The outcome remains unclear while 176,000 absentee ballots are counted, which could flip close ridings including Courtenay-Comox, where the NDP won by nine votes.
Even after the final results are announced May 24, tight finishes could trigger judicial recounts.
In a brief scrum with reporters after her prepared statements, Clark seemed to admit she would have few answers until then.
"We are at a unique time in B.C.'s history," she said.
"We don't have the final result of the election yet, so let's wait until we get the final result of the election. Then, we'll have a little bit of clarity and be able to answer some of those questions."
With files from The Canadian Press