B.C. government could lose budget vote and face early election

Chirsty Clark

In a minority legislature or parliament, you know that a government can fall at any

But when's the last time a majority government fell in a non-confidence vote?

Well, welcome to the wacky world of B.C. politics.

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The Christy Clark government is expected to table it's budget on Tuesday and, according to the Vancouver Province, there's a chance that it won't pass.

The governing Liberals at present hold a slim majority of 45 seats, compared to the New Democrats’ 36. Four seats are held by Independents.

Budget Day is Tuesday, when it is expected the Liberals will be down two seats due to vacation and leave.

While De Jong expressed optimism when asked Thursday in Victoria about caucus solidarity, one Liberal MLA said the scene behind closed doors is entirely different and suggested there are a few members who will not be whipped into voting the party line.

Tuesday's vote is a vote to allow first reading of the budget, and NDP house leader John Horgan told CKNW Radio that he expects that vote to pass. But he says he won't rule out a vote of non-confidence in two weeks, after first reading.

"It's my view...that if the government can't hold the majority of seats in the legislature when it comes to a matter as important as the budget then they don't deserve to be the government," he said.

While Clark says that she's confident that they have the votes, she's admitted to trying to woo back MLA John Slater who left the party last month after they wouldn't sign his nomination papers.

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That sounds a little desperate to me.

If the government does lose the budget vote they do have some options to stay alive, however. They could have a subsequent vote of confidence and/or they could make an appeal to the Lt. Governor.

But if they do lose, it is — at the very least — another black eye for a party in some degree of tumult.

For now, the next election is scheduled for May 14, 2013.

(Photo courtesy of The Canadian Press)

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