Editorial: Minority report

It looks like our province has its first minority government in more than half a century

It might be a couple of weeks before all the votes are counted and we know for sure, but the morning after the B.C. 2017 election, it looks like our province has its first minority government in more than half a century.

Even more exciting for the environmentalists among us, it is the Green Party that holds the balance of power.

Good things can happen under minority governments; Medicare and the Canada Pension Plan being two good examples, and thanks to Lester Pearson’s Liberal minorities in the 1960s closely collaborating with the NDP under Tommy Douglas.

For the people, a minority government would seem to be ideal. It theoretically forces the parties to work together if they want to accomplish anything, rather than one party being able to dictate and rubber stamp their vision for four years at a stretch.

That’s in theory. In reality, the hunger for power means that minority governments never last a full term; the major players immediately start looking for opportunities to force a new election, at the time that suits them best, of course.

That means we can likely expect another election in the next couple of years. Given there is a municipal election in October 2018, Spring of 2019 seems likely. Spring 2018 might be a little too quick, but you never know.

There is always the possibility the Greens and the B.C. NDP could form a coalition government, and take over from the Liberals, but a two-seat majority (as it stands now) is likely to make that scenario unstable.

Then there is the cost. Elections are expensive — about $35 million each for the 2009 and 2013 votes —and there can be no doubt those tax dollars would be better spent elsewhere.

Let’s hope that if the NDP, Liberals and Green can’t see reason and work for the common good, at least our province won’t be into a cycle of repeated minority governments.