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B.C. Greens leader Andrew Weaver seeks official party status

Emerging from last week’s too-close-to-call election, B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver had a clear first priority if he ends up with the balance of power in a minority legislature – cleaning up B.C.’s “wild west” election donations.

But after days of uncertainty over recounts, and discussions with B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark and NDP leader John Horgan, a new top priority emerged – official party status for the Greens. In an interview Sunday on CTV’s Question Period, Weaver said party recognition is one of his “deal breakers” in talks with other parties.

“Number one is of course, with three seats, we don’t get official party status,” Weaver said. “We would sit as independents, and that’s simply not acceptable to us. So we would seek official party status for the three Green seats so that we actually are the Green Party and we don’t have to negotiate for speaking time etc., we get allocated time.”

Official status is automatically achieved with four seats, providing additional taxpayer-funded political staff as well as guaranteed speaking time in the legislature. The B.C. Greens held Weaver’s Oak Bay-Gordon Head seat, and elected Adam Olsen in Saanich North and the Islands and Sonia Furstenau in Cowichan Valley.

Election finance reform is now Weaver’s second priority, after the Greens refused all but individual donations in the campaign for the May 9 vote.

“Any person, any company, any corporation, any individual anywhere in the world can donate any amount of money, any time they want, to any political party in B.C.,” Weaver said. “That’s just wrong and we’ll insist that that happens.”

Clark remains premier at least until May 24, when a recount settles results in Courtenay-Comox, where the NDP finished the initial count with a nine-vote lead. A B.C. Liberal win there would give the party a bare majority of 44 seats.

Horgan has argued that with a majority of voters choosing an alternative to the ruling party, conditions exist for opposition parties to take over.

The question of minority government with support or a formal coalition between the NDP and the Greens is also undecided, and won’t be known until the result in Courtenay-Comox is finalized.

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