UPDATE: Horgan, Weaver cry foul on speaker stance

Demand Premier Christy Clark cooperate with opposition

Premier Christy Clark is stalling and hanging onto power by refusing to keep a legislature speaker in place after her government is defeated, NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver say.

The NDP-Green alliance would sacrifice its one-seat advantage once the B.C. Liberal minority government is defeated, expected to take place by June 29 or shortly after.

Horgan worked out a deal with Weaver after the May 9 election to vote down the upcoming B.C. Liberal throne speech and support an NDP government on key votes.

Speaking to reporters at the B.C. legislature Wednesday, Weaver said if Clark has directed the other 42 B.C. Liberal MLAs to refuse to serve as speaker for an NDP government, it’s an offence against parliamentary tradition.

“The premier quotes tradition but doesn’t follow it,” Weaver said.

Horgan said the paralysis of government since the start of the election campaign in April is hurting the economy and stability of the provincial government.

“It’s a partisan problem with the current premier,” Horgan said. “I would say it’s a problem of character and ethics.”

B.C. Liberal MLA Andrew Wilkinson said the governing party is required to ensure that a speaker is elected in a free vote of all MLAs, the first order of business when the legislature session convenes on June 22. It is up to that individual to decide if he or she will continue in that job if the government is defeated and opposition parties take over, he said.

“We all know that the NDP deal with the Greens gives the NDP enough seats to seize power, but there are some very valid questions that remain unanswered about the stability of the NDP-Green deal and whether they actually do have a workable majority,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson was appointed justice minister and took the cabinet oath of office Monday along with Clark and 20 others, a full-scale cabinet to prepare for a throne speech expected on June 22.

Horgan and Weaver said the extensive preparations for a government likely to last only a week are tactics by Clark to cast doubt on the viability of the Green-NDP alliance.

“If ever there was an example as to why we need a change now, it’s the antics, shenanigans, delay and distraction that have gone on since the election,” Weaver said.

Clark said it is her responsibility as the incumbent, and the leader with the most seats, to be prepared to govern if the B.C. Liberals survive a confidence vote on their throne speech.