Showdown at Government House: the meeting that ended 16 years of B.C. Liberal rule – British Columbia

John Horgan had waited 52 days to become the premier of British Columbia.

After winning a non-confidence vote against the B.C. Liberal government, he was willing to wait a little longer. 

For two hours on Thursday, the fate of British Columbia’s government hung in the balance as Horgan waited in his legislature office, hoping to receive a historic call.

Then it came.

Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon invited him to pay her a visit and asked him to seek the confidence of the house.

And so it was a beaming Horgan, in front of the Government House facing a small crowd of reporters and supporters, that will be the final image of the unprecedented period of political uncertainty that was triggered by the results of the May 9 provincial election.

“I look forward to working harder than I’ve ever worked before,” said Horgan, who prepares to become just the fourth elected NDP premier in B.C.’s history.  

But it was Clark’s intense 90 minutes with Guichon before Horgan arrived that set the stage — and established a constitutional precedent.    

Clark asked for dissolution

Ever since the NDP and Greens announced their partnership on May 29 to try and force the Liberals — who were one seat short of a majority in the legislature — out of office, Clark had told British Columbians she would not ask Guichon to dissolve parliament and force another election.

“She will make that decision. I wouldn’t be making that request either, because it’s a decision solely for her,” Clark said that day.

Slowly but surely, as the inevitability of a non-confidence vote grew, Clark made the argument that government couldn’t work with a NDP-Green alliance, because once they lost a vote to the Speaker’s chair, too many political rules would need to be bent.

Still, she wouldn’t say outright she would provide advice to Guichon that she dissolve parliament. 

But when she was pressured face-to-face on Thursday, Clark did exactly what she said she wouldn’t.

“I did ask for the dissolution of the house,” said Clark, explaining she warned Guichon, just like she warned the public, about the instability of a NDP…

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