Green Party leader Andrew Weaver walks to Gordon Head Middle School to vote. (Arnold Lim/Black Press) VICTORIA, B.C. May 8, 2017.

ELECTION 2017: Could B.C. get a third official party?

B.C. Greens could see benefits by reaching four elected MLA’s in the Legislative Assembly.

Official party status could mean more ‘aura,’ for the B.C. Greens.

Ballots are being cast with only hours remaining before the next B.C. government is revealed, and when the dust settles there could be another officially recognized political party in Canada’s westernmost province. Norman Ruff, an associate professor emeritus in political science at the University of Victoria, said under the provincial Constitution Act, a party with four elected members receives official party status in the Legislative Assembly. Doing so, he said, could be a step forward for the Green party.

“(When) you are a leader of a recognized party, with that recognition it increases the senses of legitimacy of the party,” the 40-year Victoria resident said. “It’s up to you how you get to use it, but there is a little bit of an improved aura, (an) enhanced status.”

If four BC Green MLA’s are elected on May 9, all would receive a bigger salary than if three or less were elected. The leader would receive an additional 25 per cent (approximately $26,002.42) in salary and the three other MLA’s would take 10 per cent increases of $10,400.97 for duties as the third party house leader, the party whip and party caucus chair.

A political scientist of 50 years, Ruff said there could be numerous other advantages on top of increased salaries. Benefits include increased party finances, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to be next in line to the leader of the opposition in asking questions of the government. With only one elected member for the B.C. Greens, party leader and Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver may not speak every question period.

“From the public’s perspective, where they would see it, is in question period,” he said. “That’s when people are really paying attention within the Legislative Assembly, when you have been recognized as an official party.”

Ruff said Weaver’s single seat has already enhanced the standing of the party in the public eye, going from no seats to one at the last election in 2013. And if they were to take four seats, it would further opportunities to display their “talents” and is “something they can potentially build on.” He wasn’t however, ready to predict it would actually happen.

“There is a very realistic possibility of getting to three, but the fourth one (might be) a bridge too far. That would be my take on it,” he said. “(But) a very real chance of of getting two companions.”

Ruff pointed to Adam Olsen in the riding of Saanich North and the Islands and Sonia Furstenau in the Cowichan Valley as potential Green party members to win, but said there could be another situation where the B.C. Greens could take a step forward without gaining official party status.

“If it went from one to three (seats) and it was a minority government, that would actually give them more power. That would be an even better outcome for them, from the short run perspective,” he said.

In that situation, he said the minority government may need to work with the third party, giving them more of a voice than in a majority government.

Just Posted

Air quality advisory in effect for Terrace

People with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.

Mills Memorial Hospital financing formula released

Regional taxpayers to pay $113.7 million for new facility.

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

How the provincial budget will play out in northwestern B.C.

Price of gasoline to rise and expect MSP premiums to disppear

NDP budget offers no way to pay for new programs: Ellis Ross

MLA highly critical of government’s abandonment of major projects

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Three new judges appointed to B.C. Supreme Court

Two spots filled in Vancouver, one in New Westminster

BCHL Today: Merritt’s Buckley nets scholarship and Vees slam Salmon Arm

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Crowns asks for more time in Victoria double murder of young sisters

Andrew Berry’s next court appearance will be in three weeks to set a date for trial to begin

B.C. MP invites convicted terrorist to Trudeau reception in India

Jaspal Atwal was convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Women’s ice hockey team loses first Olympic game in 20 years

Team Canada added two silvers and a bronze to their total

Canadian support split on Trans Mountain pipeline debate: Poll

Angus Reid poll surveying Canadians on pipeline stance finds no clear winner

Tired of ‘big city life’? One-stoplight town hosts contest to lure in city slickers

Contest by BC Rural Centre hopes to attract city folks to a small town in the Kootenays

Most Read