VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – British Columbia’s Liberal government was defeated on Thursday in a no-confidence vote, as expected, paving the way for the left-leaning New Democrats to rule the Western Canadian province for the first time in 16 years. Seven weeks after a knife-edge election, New Democrat legislators, backed by the Green Party, voted 44-42 in favor of an NDP non-confidence motion in the Liberal government’s Throne Speech.
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark is expected to inform the province’s nominal head, Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon, that she will resign. Guichon is then expected to invite NDP leader John Horgan to form a government.
The Greens struck an agreement in late May to back the NDP and oust the Liberals after a May 9 general election reduced Clark’s party to a minority. But with only one seat more than the Liberals in the 87-seat legislature, a Greens-backed NDP government is fragile and few expect it to survive the four-year term.
The weeks of political limbo since the election have unnerved investors in Canada’s third-most populous province, not least owners of oil and gas projects such as Kinder Morgan Inc’s C$7.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which the NDP has vowed to halt.
The NDP and Greens, which will form the first minority government in the province in 65 years, have accused the Liberals of trying to cling to power by stealing their election promises and introducing them as last-minute legislation to delay being voted out.
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