Premier Christy Clark visits the Nanaimo riding during a campaign stop earlier this month. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Editorial: Close vote benefits B.C.

B.C. may well end up with the same governing party – but things won’t be the same

The election isn’t over. The seat count isn’t finalized, the picture isn’t clear, the future isn’t certain. And yet all of that can tell us so much.

Politics in British Columbia proved unpredictable this week as voters (maybe) elected a minority Liberal government, with (possibly) 43 seats out of 87. There’s a good chance that number will tick up and secure the slimmest of majorities for Premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals, once absentee ballots are counted.

So B.C. may well end up with the same governing party – but things won’t be the same.

Some swings happened on election night and some other changes now need to follow. The B.C. Liberals’ reduced share of seats should be an indication that there are significant percentages of people who have different ideas about the direction they want in the province. There has to be acknowledgement that B.C. chose, this week, a spectrum of voices.

The NDP increased its number of seats and probably its clout, though it should be noted that the party’s popular vote didn’t move much. While the electorate showed signs of wanting change, B.C. wasn’t necessarily ready to entrust the New Democrats to lead that change.

The Green Party, meanwhile, saw its relative vote share rise dramatically. The party’s message clearly appealed to people on Vancouver Island and its added influence and relevance in the legislature can only create more well-rounded debate.

Whether we’re led by a minority government or a narrow majority, it should result in leadership that works better for B.C. There’s a greater likelihood of co-operation, collaboration and compromise, which should lead to better legislation.

If there is any message that our premier and MLAs should take from election night, it’s that B.C. wants leadership that’s the same and yet completely different. It’s possible. Because in B.C., it’s not going to be politics as usual anymore – there’s potential for politics that are better than usual.

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