New gov't set for Western Canadian province seen short-lived


Reuters

By Nicole MordantVANCOUVER, June 20 (Reuters) - A new left-leaning government
has yet to take office in the Canadian province of British
Columbia after a drawn-out vote recount, but speculation is
mounting there may soon be a new election.
    With a fragile one-seat lead, the government set to be
formed by a New Democrat-Green alliance could be sunk by a
single lawmaker missing a crucial confidence vote due to
unforeseen events.
    The political limbo has created uncertainty for business in
Canada's third-most-populous province, notably for oil and gas
projects such as Kinder Morgan Inc's <KMI.N> Trans Mountain
pipeline expansion project, which the New Democrats (NDP) and
Greens oppose. [nL1N1IW0KU]
    "People are starting to clue in to the fact that this is
quite likely an unworkable legislature," said Hamish Telford, a
political science professor at the University of the Fraser
Valley.
    The requirement for a neutral parliamentary speaker, who is
likely to come from the alliance, could also endanger the
fledgling government as it would reduce its seat count to a
43-43 tie with the Liberals. [nL1N1J21MS]
    Premier Christy Clark, whose Liberal Party lost its majority
in a knife-edge election on May 9, has recalled the province's
legislature for this Thursday. Her government is expected to be
defeated next Thursday in a no-confidence vote. [nL1N1J41OL]
    "It will be very tough to make (the government) last four
years just from the serious probability of random events. All it
takes is one by-election, one death in office," said Richard
Johnston, a political science professor at the University of
British Columbia.
    The Greens, with three seats, agreed last month to back the
NDP government on all confidence measures, ousting the Liberals,
who have governed British Columbia for 16 years. The provincial
Liberals are unrelated to Canadian Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau's party of the same name. [nL1N1IV0RU]
    Liberal government house leader Michael de Jong told CBC
Television on Monday that his party would not put up a speaker
to "prop up the other guys."
    The speaker is allowed to vote to break a tie, but repeated
votes in favor of one party would undermine the impartiality of
the role.
    Rather than risk throwing the legislature into disrepute,
the province's lieutenant-governor could call another election.
    At least two confidence votes, one on the Throne Speech, the
party's agenda for the parliamentary session, and another on a
provincial budget, are to occur soon after an NDP government is
installed.

 (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Dan
Grebler)
 ((nicole.mordant@thomsonreuters.com; +1-778-374-3854; Reuters
Messaging: nicole.mordant.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: CANADA POLITICS/BRITISHCOLUMBIA (PIX)



This article appears in: Stocks , Politics
Referenced Symbols: KMI


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