There are different ways to make government work, and voters have entrusted the NDP to make it work with a sizeable majority.
This past weekend’s provincial election in a pandemic resulted in a resounding mandate for the New Democratic Party, as British Columbians have given Premier John Horgan and his party greater responsibility than before.
For three years, we saw the ways a type of coalition government could work, with the NDP and Green Party’s confidence-and-supply agreement as a guiding document. The final months of that arrangement were marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw new kinds of cross-party co-operation.
A majority means that a coalition and co-operation aren’t strictly required, at least not to the same extent they were. The NDP’s victory was such that the B.C. Liberals’ Andrew Wilkinson has announced that he will remain in charge only until the party’s next leader is determined. The official opposition has seen its seat count reduced and its shadow cabinet thinned. A leadership contest, whenever it happens, will be an opportunity for the B.C. Liberals to renew and strengthen, but it will also be a distraction and will lead to some division.
As for the Greens, they obviously don’t have the same bargaining power now that they no longer hold the balance of power. However, maintaining their seat count and keeping third-party seats in the legislature is, we think, important for democracy in our province as we don’t believe a de facto two-party system would be desirable.
Throughout the campaign, much of the talk from the parties and their leaders was about COVID-19 recovery. But to then hear, two days after the election, of record-setting case counts reminds us that in a lot of ways we aren’t ready to move to recovery mode just yet. British Columbians don’t know what’s ahead, but we’ve made up our mind about the provincial government that will try to lead us through it.
As we move from a minority to a majority government, some of the ways B.C.’s political parties work together will change. The leadership needs to work for everyone. Because as we’ve heard from the start, we’re in this together.