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

Canadians on epic journey arrive in Nanoose

Snaw-Naw-As First Nation welcomes participants of Canada C3 voyage

Kwalikum Secondary student back from year in Netherlands

Don’t pass up opportunity to travel with Qualicum Beach Rotary’s help, says Taylor Hunter

Resident slam loud dynamite blasting at Cedar Ridge Estate development

Sleigh feels insulted by Mayor Lefebrve who failed to understand their suffering

RDN creates new service to fund INfilm

Regional district to enter three year agreement with film commision for annual funding of $50,000

Bowser school asks RDN to double funding for outdoor learning area

From $30,000 to $60,000 for Tulnuxw Lelum Cultural Learning Space

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Kellers Jewellers in Lantzville suffers break-in

Incident happened around 5:30 a.m. Oct. 21, say police.

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

Most Read