Canada B.C. NDP will form decisive majority government, CBC News projects

09:40  25 october  2020
09:40  25 october  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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(Reuters) - The left-leaning New Democratic Party ( NDP ) is on track to form a majority government in the western Canadian province of British Columbia, Canadian Broadcasting Corp ( CBC ) News projected after Saturday's election. The NDP has been running a minority government since 2017

It could decide between a majority or a minority government . The odds of a minority government are currently low: the CBC Poll Tracker estimates the While the downtown seats might help bulk up the party 's caucus, it won't be enough to put the party into government . For that, the NDP would need

John Horgan smiling for the camera: B.C. NDP leader John Horgan announces his party’s election platform in Vancouver on Oct. 6, 2020. Horgan is projected to become the first two-term NDP premier in the history of the province. © Ben Nelms/CBC B.C. NDP leader John Horgan announces his party’s election platform in Vancouver on Oct. 6, 2020. Horgan is projected to become the first two-term NDP premier in the history of the province.

The NDP will form a majority government in British Columbia for the first time in more than 20 years, CBC News projects, as voters opted to stay the course in a tumultuous year and send leader John Horgan back to the legislature as the only consecutive two-term premier in his party's history.

As of 10:30 p.m. PT, Horgan and the NDP are projected to take 55 of 87 seats in the B.C. Legislature. It will be the first NDP majority since 1996.

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Richard Zussman & Justin McElroy · CBC News · Posted: Jul 18, 2017 1:52 PM PT | Last Updated: July 19, 2017. NDP Leader John Horgan smiles after Hundreds of family members and friends of the new NDP cabinet celebrated the change of power at Government House in Victoria this afternoon, as

An independent government -commissioned report this week found the project in B . C .'s northeast will likely not meet its 2024 completion date and is over Horgan also told convention delegates the NDP faces a looming battle over the .4 billion Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project , which the

The Liberals are projected to hold 29 seats, while the Greens are expected to take three.

Just 50 seats would constitute a decisive victory in any B.C. election, as it only takes 44 to form government. Fifty-four seats for the NDP would break the previous party record of 51 seats in 1991.

Horgan, Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau are all projected to hold their seats in Langford-Juan de Fuca, Vancouver-Quilchena and Cowichan Valley, respectively.

Successful gamble

The projected results show the gamble of calling an election in the middle of a pandemic paid off handsomely for Horgan, who stayed comfortably high in the polls throughout the campaign.

He made his election night speech at 10:45 p.m. PT, acknowledging the final count is not yet complete but striking a tone of success.

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CBC News · Posted: Nov 23, 2019 5:01 PM PT | Last Updated: November 24, 2019. Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh spoke at the convention. B . C . Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver sent a welcome letter to delegates, which reiterated a commitment to collaboration and good faith between

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, left, and NDP Leader John Horgan shake hands on May 29 after announcing an agreement for the Greens to Horgan and Weaver are optimistic Guichon will see their agreement as strong enough to give the NDP the opportunity to form government without an election.

"There are many, many hundreds of thousands votes yet to be counted [but] ... One thing we know for certain is Monday, I'll be going back to work."

"This has been an extraordinarily difficult election for many many reasons, but it's one that I believe had to happen and I'm grateful for all British Columbians that we can put the election behind us and we can get back to focusing on the things that matter."

John Horgan holding a sign: NDP Leader John Horgan speaks after a historic election night on Oct. 24, 2020. © Ben Nelms/CBC NDP Leader John Horgan speaks after a historic election night on Oct. 24, 2020.

In contrast, it is a bleak night for the B.C. Liberals and Greens. Both parties had hoped Horgan's snap election risk would backfire and create the opportunity for a legislative takeover after three-and-a-half years of a minority NDP government.

Twenty-nine seats is a major blow to the Liberals, which held 41 seats at dissolution. The poor performance will bring Wilkinson's future as party leader into question, as any loss of seats would have been considered a defeat for the party — let alone 11.

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CBC News · Posted: Apr 06, 2019 6:00 AM MT | Last Updated: April 6, 2019. Both UCP Leader Jason Kenney and NDP Leader Rachel Notley have unveiled their party 's full platforms For a more fulsome and up-to-date list of promises made by all the major Alberta parties , check out our Promise Tracker.

Party commits to banning corporate and political donations, electoral reform and housing support. Chad Pawson · CBC News · Posted: Sep 08, 2017 2:09 At the heart of the speech are the moves the NDP will take to make life more affordable in the province. The government says it will create a legislated

Wilkinson addressed constituents and the media at 10:15 p.m. PT. He acknowledged the NDP were "clearly ahead" based on preliminary results, but did not concede, saying the race isn't over until nearly 500,000 mail-in ballots are counted in November.

"We'll have more to say going forward but for now we all have a responsibility to be patient, to respect the democratic process and to await the final results," he said before leaving the stage at his campaign headquarters.

Andrew Wilkinson wearing a suit and tie: B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson addresses journalists on the night of the provincial election in Vancouver on Oct. 24, 2020. © Maggie MacPherson/CBC B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson addresses journalists on the night of the provincial election in Vancouver on Oct. 24, 2020.

Sonia Furstenau, who became Green Party leader just a week before the election, focused on how the sitting Greens will work in the Legislature. The party is projected to gain a seat on Saturday night, including its first seat on the B.C. mainland with Jeremy Valeriote expected to defeat the Liberals in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky.

"The NDP engineered this election to get a majority and wipe out their opponents. They were half successful ... while they may have their majority, British Columbians have returned Green MLAs to hold government accountable — and there are still many votes to be counted."

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Both parties completed their teams hours before Election BC's Oct. 2 deadline for registering, ending a scramble that officially began when NDP Leader The B . C . Green Party will only field candidates in 74 ridings, having just completed its own leadership race a week before the election campaign began.

If the NDP is re-elected under a majority government , Horgan says the party will focus on implementing its rent freeze pledge, as well as its -a-day child-care plan. NOW PLAYING: News .

The difference-maker for the NDP has been flipping ridings from old Liberal strongholds, including ridings in which the NDP has rarely been competitive — such as Chilliwack and Langley in the province's Fraser Valley.

Unique election

The campaign was unlike any other in the province's history, with the aim of choosing who will lead the population through its next wave of COVID-19 and, eventually, its recovery.

More than a million of B.C.'s 3.5 million registered voters cast their ballots in advance or by mail-in ballot before general voting day.

"Never before have so many voters voted before election day in British Columbia electoral history," Elections BC's chief electoral officer Anton Boegman told reporters on Friday.

Furstenau cast her ballot early Saturday at a community centre in the Vancouver Island community of Shawnigan Lake. Wilkinson voted at a Greek community centre in Vancouver's Shaughnessy neighbourhood.

Horgan was among just over 681,000 people who cast their ballots during the week-long advance voting period this past week, voting Monday at Luxton Hall in Langford, B.C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement congratulating Horgan and the NDP on behalf of the federal government at 10:30 p.m. PT.

"I look forward to continuing to work closely with Premier Horgan and the Government of British Columbia, so we can keep Canadians safe and healthy and offer support to those who need it, as we address the impacts of the global pandemic."

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The NDP leader called the snap election on Sept. 21, citing a need for stability and certainty in the legislature during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic-era election — the first to be held in B.C. during a provincial state of emergency since the Second World War — saw its battles waged mostly online. Rallies were replaced by virtual debates and townhalls, hand-shaking by distant waving and smiles by cloth masks.

Adrian Dix, who helped lead B.C. through the first nine months of the pandemic as provincial health minister, is projected to hold his seat in Vancouver Kingsway.

Campaign dynamics

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats. Two seats were held by Independents and one seat was empty.

The NDP campaign was often more defensive than offensive, striking a stay-the-course tone with policy re-announcements and the hope of capitalizing on a widely acclaimed public health response to COVID-19.

The NDP platform was largely built on the party's record and promises to continue what it started, including expanding $10-a-day child care and implementing a rent freeze until the end of next year. There was also a promise to provide a $1,000 recovery benefit for families with annual household incomes under $125,000.

Both the Liberals and Greens attacked Horgan continuously over the course of the 32-day campaign, his chief opponents and former allies questioning how the public could trust a "selfish" leader who betrayed his confidence and supply agreement with the Green Party in order to call what they saw as an opportunistic snap election.

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Horgan's task was convincing voters the election was undertaken for their benefit, providing them an opportunity to replace a shaky, bygone NDP-Green agreement with a fresh, stable government — regardless of party — that could definitively see them through the rest of the pandemic.

It was ultimately Wilkinson's leadership that was widely criticized for what many saw as a lacklustre response to sexist comments from candidate Jane Thornthwaite toward NDP candidate Bowinn Ma.

Days later, the leader was under fire again for failing to oust the divisive Chilliwack-Kent candidate Laurie Throness — who compared free contraception to eugenics — from the party roster before it was too late to put forward another candidate.

Mail-in ballots

The precise outcome in close ridings might be uncertain after Saturday night.

More than 720,000 mail-in ballots were requested during the campaign and nearly 498,000 had been returned as of Friday. Vote-by-mail packages are collected centrally and cannot be counted for at least 13 days after general voting day, as per the Election Act.

If a riding is neck-and-neck by the end of the night, it could be too close to call without including the mail-in ballots. If ridings are won by landslide, it's unlikely the mail-in ballots will change the preliminary results released Saturday.

Elections in B.C. have been, historically, declared by wide margins, though that was far from the case in the last two provincial elections in 2013 and 2017.

Officials with Elections BC hope to deliver the final results by Nov. 16, but the date isn't set in stone as it's unclear how much time will be needed to count the mail-in ballots — which are counted by hand, one at a time.

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