B.C. election 2017: Voters had their say – what happens next?

Questions are being raised about what happens next following the results of the 2017 B.C. election on Tuesday.

B.C. will likely be ruled by a Liberal government, but it could be either a minority or majority depending on possible recounts and the counting of absentee ballots.


The BC Liberals are elected or leading in 43 of the province’s 87 ridings. The NDP were elected or leading in 41 ridings while the Green Party won three seats. BC Liberal Party leader Christy Clark will remain in charge of this province while the uncertainty around election results continues.

The 2017 election marks the first since 1952 that B.C. has voted in a minority government. And the results aren’t official; there are still votes left to be tallied and close ridings that might need to be recounted.

“It’s fairly uncommon for British Columbia [to have a minority government], it’s uncommon for Canada, it’s fairly common throughout the world but for us, we don’t know what to make of it,” said David Moscrop, a political scientist from the University of British Columbia.

“The truth is, lots of things can happen now. We just have to wait and see.”

Moscrop said the BC Liberals could still end up with a majority government if a recount in Courtenay-Comox gives the riding to the Liberals. Right now, there is a difference of only nine votes separating the NDP’s Ronna-Rae Leonard and the BC Liberals’ Jim Benniger. If there is a recount and Benniger comes out on top, the BC Liberals would hold 44 seats.

He also added the Liberals could end up in a coalition with the BC Green Party. “Or in theory, the NDP could end up in a minority with the Greens,” said Moscrop.

“Now the bargaining is happening behind the scenes.”

Highlights from BC Election 2017


Highlights from BC Election 2017


BC Election: What will the BC Legislature look like now?


BC Election: John Horgan thanks supporters


BC Election: John Horgan thanks supporters


BC Election: Green Party leader Andrew Weaver hails ‘historic night for B.C.’


BC Election: Christy Clark thanks son Hamish


BC Election: Christy Clark claims popular vote win, says absentee ballots will secure her win


BC Election: Breaking down the ramifications of a minority government

Minority governments in B.C.

A minority government has not lasted longer than 18 months in B.C. history. Moscrop said, in his opinion, a minority government in this scenario created on Tuesday night “won’t last long” unless a coalition is formed.

“Eighteen months would be long, I think,” he said. “It’s going to be unstable legislation and a dynamic agenda, it could be a year, heck it could be six months that we could very well [be going to the polls] again in the fall.”

He adds a minority government can be exciting however, as they may not last very long but they can get a lot accomplished.

“I think you get more value for your money.”

READ MORE: What happens when B.C. elects a minority government?

Andrew Weaver

“Whether you like it or not, Andrew Weaver right now gets to effectively decide who governs British Columbia,” said Moscrop.

If Weaver gets a cabinet post, B.C. will have a coalition government but nothing has been decided at this time.

“I’d imagine his supporters would prefer him to work with the NDP,” said Moscrop, “but I get the sense he prefers to work with the Liberals. That’s a broad sense, it’s hard to prove that, but he might make a bargain, or a gambit rather, and say ‘look I’m going to work with the Liberals and try to have an impressive three to four years and then be judged on that in the next election and at the ballot box’.”

“But he’s looking long-term and wants proportional representation because it would be great for the Greens.”

What might happen to Site C, LNG projects, Kinder Morgan expansion project?

Moscrop said, right now, there is a lot of uncertainty around the future of these projects, which have been part of major campaign promises from the BC Liberals.

“[Weaver] has been really clear that LNG is not the future of British Columbia,” said Moscrop. “So he’s got his sights set on that for sure. But I think he’d be willing to trade a little bit on say, Kinder Morgan, if he can get electoral reform and money out of politics, because like I said, he’s playing the long game. Maybe he’s thinking ‘look, the long-term environment concerns are better served by having more Greens in the legislature so I’ll trade Kinder Morgan today and get more seats in the next 10, 15, 20 elections in B.C.’”

“He may end up paying for it and that’s just how the sausage was made, that’s politics.”

WATCH: UBC political scientist David Moscrop is looking ahead to what happens now following the results of the 2017 B.C. election. He shares his predictions and thoughts.

The 28-day campaign

Moscrop said the BC Liberals ran their campaign on the idea that things were working in British Columbia and asked why people would want to mess with a formula that seems to be working.

“It’s tough looking back,” he said. “I don’t think they could have done much. I think this sort of election was in the cards for a long time. They had accumulated a lot of baggage in 16 years and that happens to governments.”

“Affordability’s become an issue, housing has become an issue, these things have been creeping up on them for some time. And you can’t fix that in an election that takes more than 28 days.”

He adds that strategically he thinks the BC NDP made the right call to focus their campaign on Metro Vancouver and the more densely populated areas. “But it paid off,” said Moscrop. “He increased his share and he increased his vote count.”

The BC Green party won seats in three ridings, barring any possible change, and they increased their popular vote. While Moscrop said this was very positive for them, they also did pick up voters who were disaffected with the Liberals and the NDP so that makes up some of those numbers.

WATCH: UBC political scientist David Moscrop takes a closer look at the results of the B.C. election last night. While the BC Liberals won the most seats, the B.C. Legislature is going to change.