Thursday, May 25, 2017

41st BC Parliament membership set

Yesterday - Elections BC completed the final count for all 87 Provincial Electoral Districts.  The results, subject to any applied-for judicial recount(s) is:

43 - BC Liberals
41 - BC NDP
3 - BC Greens

Final results from Elections BC for all 87 Electoral Districts can be viewed here.  Given the results, there will be no automatic judicial recount.  However, a candidate, a voter in a provincial electoral district or the district electoral officer can apply for a judicial recount as per Section 139 of the Election Act in the next 6 days.  The only reasons that a candidate, a voter or the district electoral officer may apply for a judicial recount are:

(a) that votes were not correctly accepted or ballots were not correctly rejected as required by the rules of section 123 (of the Election Act);
(b) that unopened or resealed certification or secrecy envelopes contain ballots that should be considered;
(c) that a ballot account does not accurately record the number of votes for a candidate;
(d) that the final count under Division 2 of this Part did not correctly calculate the total number of votes for a candidate.

If the BC Supreme Court rejects an judicial recount application(s), then an appeal may be filed with 2 days of the Supreme Court decision and if the BC Court of Appeal upholds the BC Supreme Court decision re: judicial recount, then there is no more appeals possible as I don't see it likely that the Supreme Court of Canada would agree to hear an appeal from the BC Court of Appeal in the case of a judicial review of a provincial election

Conventional wisdom says that because the BC Liberal Party has the most seats on the basis of plurality (43) - the provincial Lieutenant-Governor would permit Christy Clark first chance to form a government and "meet the House" to see if the BC Liberal Party can command the confidence of the House (legislature). This all could be subject to current/ongoing negotiations between BC Greens and the BC Liberals/BC NDP

Generally - items considered as confidence motions are Speeches from the Throne, Budget and Supply Bills.  If the governing party loses a vote on any one of those three items, its' Leader is required to see Her Honour the Lt Governor and advise that they has lost the confidence of the House.  At that point - the options available to the Lt-Governor, after receiving advice from the BC Premier & external advisors, would be:

a) New General Election (depending on time passed from last election)
b) Give another Party an opportunity to govern

The last minority BC Parliament was in 1952 and lasted 1 year before a new election in 1953 which resulted in a subsequent majority legislative assembly

Also - the Provincial Legislative Assembly must be convened before September as that is when the voted appropriations expire and new authority must be sought to continue to pay the bills. A not well known fact that Special Financial Warrants can be authorized by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council (BC Cabinet) but there are limits as to how this can be done, for more information on this, click here

Finally - we are certainly in for unique political times ahead and one that I personally will be watching closely as it is practice for most of the 191 local governments to meet with Cabinet Ministers at the annual Union of BC Muncipalities convention which is in late September in Vancouver this year and Cabinet Minister attendance could be problematic, given the precious tenure of governing in the BC Legislature and the need for all 87 MLA's to stay close to the Legislature grounds in case of called standing votes in the Legislature


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