BC Greens face stickhandling act in deciding which party it would back

The prospect of a minority Liberal government in British Columbia heightened economic uncertainty on Canada's west coast on Wednesday, pitting the future of key energy projects against the ability of the Liberals to work with the third-party Greens.

The Green Party won enough seats to hold the balance of power after Tuesday's election, but risks ruin by backing the New Democratic Party, say political scientists from the University of British Columbia.

With absentee ballots still to be counted in the days ahead, Clark's 43 seats represent a loss of only four from the last majority, and the NDP's 41 seats is up six.

That includes the Courtenay-Comox riding, which was won by NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard by an astonishing nine votes.

That's just short of four seats that would give the Greens official party status.

The election of a minority government in British Columbia already has political parties pondering common ground between them as everybody awaits the final results.

NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver also won their respective ridings.

BC Liberal Party leader Christy Clark will remain in charge of this province despite her party clinching a minority government, with recounts possible in some close ridings.

On a provincial scale, this means that the Liberals will now be faced with following through with several large promises: a balanced budget and strong GDP growth, reduced MSP rates for some citizens, eventually phasing out health-care premiums all together. As she left the polling station, Clark stopped to say hello to a young girl. Clark said she is confident that when absentee ballots are counted, they will strengthen the Liberals' margin of victory.

The Liberals made the situation even worse by falsely calling Higgins an NDP member sent to confront Clark.

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"We have been presented with an opportunity by British Columbians to open a whole new dialogue in our province, in our Legislature", Clark said.

The legislative minority means the tiny Green party will hold the balance of power as Premier Christy Clark tries to push forward with pipeline expansion plans and a promise to apply a levy to thermal coal exports to the U.S. in retaliation for U.S. duties on softwood lumber.

Speaking in Toronto Wednesday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notely jokingly thanked the voters of British Columbia for making Tuesday's election "interesting" and precluding her from congratulating a victor at this point.

"I think people are exhausted (and) I think we can show B.C. what we're about".

Speaking to reporters the day after the vote, Weaver, whose party tripled its support earning three seats in the legislature, said he has no intention of rushing into an alliance with either the Liberals or NDP. All those positions are supported, at least to some degree, by the New Democrats.

Christin Geall, who ran for the Greens in 2001, said she was "ecstatic". He told voters his party is the only one offering something that's different on climate change and on preparing the province for a new economy spurred by technological change.

The NDP accused the Liberals of dragging their feet on political fundraising by failing to back bills in the legislature that would have banned donations from the corporate and labour sectors.

NDP leader John Horgan also confirmed he had met with Weaver and that they agreed that the Liberals have "failed" on childcare, affordable housing, and protecting B.C.'s coast against potential harms from increased tanker traffic.

When it was all said and done, Christy Clark and the BC Liberals claimed the province's first minority government in more than six decades.

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