The general election on May 9, 2017 resulted in British Columbians voting in a minority government, with the B.C. Greens holding the balance of power. After extensive negotiations with both the B.C. Liberals and the B.C. NDP, the B.C. Green caucus and the B.C. NDP entered into a Confidence and Supply Agreement (“CASA”) on May 29, 2017.
The B.C. Green caucus has agreed to support the stability of the B.C. NDP minority government by pledging to support them on matters of confidence. Such matters typically occur with budgets and throne speeches. On all other issues, the B.C. Green caucus retains our right to vote on an issue-by-issue basis, using the available evidence and our own principles and platform to guide our voting decisions.
What this further means is that the B.C. Greens will not put forward a vote of non-confidence unless the terms of our CASA agreement are broken.
CASA ensures that a strong, stable and effective government can exist. The B.C. Green and the B.C. NDP caucuses have also agreed to work collaboratively to advance a wide range of shared policy priorities that are outlined in the agreement.
Consultation is foundational to our agreement, as is the principal of good faith and no surprises. Under our agreement, the NDP is required to consult with our caucus as it crafts policy. Through these consultations, we will evaluate their proposals and provide input. There will be times when we support legislation introduced by the NDP, and times when we do not. And often, our input will already have been incorporated prior to a bill actually being introduced.
The B.C. Green caucus remains a distinctly separate political party. We are not part of a coalition government. We are officially the third party in the B.C. Legislature and we sit in opposition to the NDP minority government. We are committed to working across party lines in collaboration with all members of the legislature to advance evidence-based policies in the best interest of British Columbians. Despite political differences, there are commonalities and shared principles that we can work together on for effective governance.
There are many other policy areas where the B.C. Greens will advance ideas not shared with other parties. Our caucus ran on a bold, principled platform with a strong vision for B.C., and we will work hard to implement its best ideas. Some of these have already been implemented, including the banning of corporate and union donations, the creation of a Fair Wages Commission and the appointment of the province’s first innovation commissioner.
The focus on innovation and the new economy is a critical component of the CASA agreement that was taken directly from the B.C. Green Party election platform. We are pleased that the B.C. government has adopted this economic agenda and we are collaboratively working with them to ensure British Columbia emerges as a leader in the modern economy.
We are also prepared to consider legislation proposed by the official opposition, the B.C. Liberals, and support their bills if we believe they are in the best interests of British Columbians. In the previous government, I worked with the Liberals to advance legislation to require that post-secondary campuses develop sexualized violence and misconduct policies. Together, we also banned employers from requiring their employees to wear high heels. These examples prove that when we work together across party lines to advance the interests of the people we all serve, government is at its very best.
We have an historic opportunity to do politics differently. The B.C. Greens will continue to work for British Columbians, not for another political party. We look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the house to uphold our commitment to serve the people of B.C. who entrusted us with their vote.
Andrew Weaver is the MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and the leader of the B.C. Green Party