The final count for the provincial election is in – and nothing has changed.
Elections BC reports that after absentee ballots were counted and recounts conducted, the standings remain the same: BC Liberals 43 seats, BC NDP 41 seats, and the BC Greens three seats.
Premier Christy Clark issued the following statement:
"I want to congratulate all candidates, from all parties, who put their names forward to run. It’s not easy, and they deserve our gratitude for working to make our province even better.
“With 43 BC Liberal candidates elected as MLAs, and a plurality in the legislature, we have a responsibility to move forward and form a government."
There will be no automatic judicial recounts. The district electoral officer must apply for a judicial recount if the difference between the top two candidates is less than 1/500 of the total ballots considered, or if there is a tie. No electoral districts meet this criteria.
Clark continued: “The final result reinforces that British Columbians want us to work together, across party lines, to get things done for them.
“Our priority is to protect our strong economy and to manage BC’s finances responsibly, while listening closely to British Columbians on how we address important social and environmental priorities and how we can make BC politics more responsive, transparent, and accountable.
“The work is just beginning. My team and I look forward to delivering positive results for British Columbians.”
But NDP Leader John Horgan said the results of the election show voters want change and he believes he can work with Green Leader Andrew Weaver to govern.
"British Columbians have voted overwhelmingly to replace Christy Clark's Liberals with a new government that works better for families," he said.
Michael Prince, a social policy expert at the University of Victoria, said Clark is also gambling that British Columbians are not in the mood to head back to the polls and the longer she can stay in power, the better are her chances of winning another election.
"I think she'll be hoping there'll be no appetite for an instant election," he said. "She can try to bring in a throne speech and a budget with a lot of green tinges."
The popular vote tightened as Elections BC finished counting almost 180,000 absentee ballots to finalize the results. The Liberals received just 1,566 more votes across the province than the NDP from almost 1.8 million ballots.
Weaver has said the major demands his party will be seeking in a minority government include being granted party status in the legislature. The Greens fell one seat short of official status after the election.
The Greens also want reforms to the electoral system to allow for proportional representation and changes to party fundraising rules that allow unlimited donations from corporations, unions and individuals.
with files from The Canadian Press