British Columbia

7 things to watch for next in B.C. politics

Following B.C politics in recent weeks has been a lot like riding a roller coaster — it's hard to know what twists and turns to expect. So we've put together this quick guide to seven things that could happen next in B.C. politics.

The only one certain thing is that not much is certain right now

The leaders of the B.C. NDP and the provincial Green Party signed a deal yesterday in Victoria. (Simon Charland-Faucher/CBC )

Following B.C politics in recent weeks has been a lot like riding a roller coaster — it's hard to know what twists and turns to expect.

Here's seven things that could happen next in B.C. politics:

1. Christy Clark and the Liberals will form the next government — for now

B.C. Premier Christy Clark after a news conference in Vancouver yesterday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Christy Clark is still the premier of B.C., at least for now.

As Clark said yesterday, she plans to recall the legislature sometime in June, introduce a throne speech and wait for the NDP and Greens to vote her down.

Assuming that happens, she says she wants to stay on as leader of the opposition.

Clark has a reputation for being a tenacious fighter, but it's worth noting she stood alone at the podium at yesterday's announcement.

2. The NDP will take over with the support of the Greens

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, left, may only have three seats in the B.C. Legislature, but it's enough to require the NDP's John Horgan share the stage with him yesterday in Victoria. (Simon Charland-Faucher/CBC)

If Clark loses a vote in the Legislature, John Horgan is expected to ask the Lieutenant Governor for a chance to form the next government with the support of Andrew Weaver and the Greens.

The government will be based on a deal the Greens signed yesterday promising to support the NDP for the next four years, but it's just a deal to work together — not a formal coalition.

And with just a one-vote majority in the Legislature, it's a fragile arrangement that could easily come unraveled if just one MLA is unable to turn up for a vote in the Legislature.

Anything from an illness to a cancelled ferry or flight could quickly spell the end of the NDP-Green government and trigger a new election for B.C.

3. The fight over the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion will continue

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley have both promised Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion will go ahead, despite opposition in B.C.

Both the B.C. NDP and the Greens have promised to do everything possible to stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project from breaking ground, but it remains unclear how they plan to do that.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already approved the project and promised yesterday that he is not changing his mind.

And with the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan backing the pipeline, and First Nations and environmentalists still fighting it in the courts and the streets, the only certainty is more uncertainty before this issue is resolved.

4. Metro Vancouver's bridges and tolls are on hold

The new bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel between Richmond and Delta doesn't have the support of the Greens or the NDP. (B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Neither the NDP nor the Greens support the Liberals' plans to replace the George Massey Tunnel with a bridge, but they don't agree on what should happen instead of that — meaning this project is still up in the air.

As for tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges, while the NDP has promised to get rid of them, the Greens did not.

While there was nothing specific in the deal yesterday, the Greens have promised to support an NDP budget which could axe the tolls.

As for the rest of the region's transportation projects, like the Broadway SkyTrain Expansion Line, light rapid transit in Surrey and a new Pattullo Bridge, both parties have promised more funding to get them underway.

5. The Site C dam will undergo review

The NDP could halt construction of B.C. Hydro's massive Site C dam in Northern B.C. (BC Hydro)

Both the NDP and Greens have said they don't support the continued construction of the massive hydroelectric dam on the Peace River in Northern B.C.

But they don't actually plan to stop it yet. Instead, they have promised the mega-project will be reviewed by the B.C. Utilities Commission, with the expectation the independent regulator will rule it's not in the province's financial interest to continue with it.

6. $10 a day daycare ... eventually

The NDP has promised to bring $10-a-day childcare to B.C. (Mike Dotta/Shutterstock)

One of the NDP's biggest election promises is to bring in $10-a-day daycare in B.C., but it's going to take a decade to roll out the party's plan.

While the deal signed by the two parties apparently promises to bring stable government to B.C. until the next scheduled election in May 2021, minority governments tend to have shorter life spans.

So that means while plans to bring in cheap universal daycare may be put in motion, there is a lot that could happen before a daycare opens in a neighbourhood near you.

7. The next election may have a new set of rules

The next time B.C. voters head to the polls, the rules could be changed. (CBC)

One of Green leader Andrew Weaver's key demands to support the NDP was a promise to start a process that could change how we vote and elect governments in B.C.

As part of the deal signed yesterday the province will hold a referendum during the 2018 municipal elections to decide if we should switch to proportional representation.

And once again, the changes require that the NDP-Greens deal holds together long enough to see it becomes legislation in time for the 2021 election.

But one thing that will likely change is the way campaigns are financed in B.C. With both the NDP and Greens making it clear they intend to ban corporate and union donations from politics in B.C.


Mike Laanela is an online journalist with CBC News in Vancouver.