British Columbia

John Horgan formally introduces motion of non-confidence in B.C. Liberal government

Seven weeks and a day after the polls closed in British Columbia's provincial election, the end stage has officially begun, but its conclusion is still uncertain.

With 44 combined NDP and Green MLAs, motion is expected to pass Thursday afternoon

NDP Leader John Horgan presents his non-confidence motion in the B.C. Legislature on Wednesday. (Hansard)

Seven weeks and a day after the polls closed in British Columbia's provincial election, the end stage has officially begun, but its conclusion is still uncertain. 

NDP Leader John Horgan formally introduced a non-confidence motion against the B.C. government Wednesday afternoon, the beginning of a series of events that could culminate with Horgan as the province's 36th premier.

"There is going to be a change in this place tomorrow," said Horgan at the beginning of his speech.  

"This has been a bizarre week for all of us. It will be a bizarre tomorrow," he said near the end.

The motion, an amendment to the throne speech, was seconded by Green member of the legislature Sonia Furstenau.

Following his reading of the motion, Horgan concluded the speech by telling the legislature, "I move [the] motion, with the sincere hope we can have a peaceful and just transition to a government that works for all British Columbians."

With 41 NDP MLAs and three Green MLAs who have agreed to support the motion, it will likely pass Thursday afternoon.

What comes next?

Should that happen, Premier Christy Clark will be obligated to meet Lt-Gov. Judith Guichon and tell her she can no longer command the confidence of the house. 

Following that meeting — which should come shortly after the non-confidence vote concludes and the Liberals lose — Guichon will announce one of two things: either to invite Horgan and the NDP to form government or that she is dissolving the house, sparking another election. 

Horgan, who could be a day away from becoming the first NDP premier in 16 years, didn't want to speculate on what Clark would say in such a meeting or what Guichon would decide.

"I don't want to predict what the premier will do. I've been observing her now for six years, and I've never been right on how she will act," he said. 

"I'm hopeful the lieutenant-governor [will see] there is a group of members, a majority of members that are ready to get back to work."

Clark: 'It is not a functional place'

In a brief news conference shortly after Horgan introduced his motion, Clark said she wouldn't advise her on whether to call an election or not — but also said that if asked for her thoughts she would say the legislature is not working.

"Here's what I do know: in these conversations between a premier and a lieutenant-governor, at moments like this, she will probably ask me some questions, and I've got to be honest: you've seen what I've seen this week. It isn't working," she said.

"I'm going to leave the decision to her. If she asks me any [questions], and she may not, I'm going to have to give her honest answers. You've seen what's going on. It's hard to suggest this place is working now, and hard to suggest it would be working in the future."

Premier Christy Clark responds to NDP non confidence motion

6 years ago
Duration 0:15
The motion is expected to pass Thursday afternoon and could topple her government

If such a conversation does come to pass in the way Clark described, Guichon would be faced with either ignoring de facto advice from her first minister or calling an election without an explicit recommendation.

A decision is expected Thursday evening or Friday morning.

"We'll see what decision she makes," said Clark.