Both the B.C. Green and NDP leaders have called it an historic day for British Columbia.
In a joint announcement today outside the legislature chamber, they announced a tentative agreement under which the Greens would support an NDP-led government on issues pertaining to the budget and supply.
"What was obvious to us, the B.C. Greens, is that there is so much commonality in this legislature," B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver told reporters. "There are so many ideas that all parties share. And in the end, we had to make a difficult decision. A decision that we felt was in the best interest of British Columbia today. That decision was for the B.C. Greens to work with the B.C. NDP to provide a stable minority government over the four-year term of this next session."
The deal still requires the ratification of the B.C. NDP caucus tomorrow (May 30), which Horgan said is highly likely.
"We have had a preliminary discussion with our caucus colleagues," he stated. "But they were all scheduled to be in town tomorrow. They're going to get a detailed look at the document at that time. I have every confidence that there is going to be unanimous support from our team. So I don't want to leave any doubt there."
The B.C. Greens will have three seats in the legislature and the NDP will have 41 seats. Together, that adds up to 44, which will be one more than the 43 seats won by the B.C. Liberals.
Last week, Premier Christy Clark said that the B.C. Liberals have a duty to form a government after winning the most seats in the legislature. Today, she left the question open whether she'll follow through on this pledge.
"In recent days, we have made every effort to reach a governing agreement, while standing firm on our core beliefs," Clark said in a statement released at 2:45 p.m. "It's vitally important that British Columbians see the specific details of the agreement announced today by the B.C. NDP and Green party leaders, which could have far-reaching consequences for our province's future.
"As the incumbent government, and the party with the most seats in the legislature, we have a responsibility to carefully consider our next steps," Clark continued. "I will consult on those steps with the newly elected B.C. Liberal caucus, and have more to say tomorrow."
Horgan pointed out that it's been decades since no party won a majority in a B.C. election.
"I am very excited about the prospect of delivering to the people of British Columbia what they voted for on May 9. And that was change," Horgan said. "Sixty percent of the voters that cast votes voted for change and we are going to be able to give that change as a result of the agreement reached between the B.C. Green caucus and the B.C. NDP caucus."
He noted that the NDP will run the government "with support on issues around supply and budgeting".
Details of the agreement won't be released until tomorrow after it's been ratified by the NDP caucus.
When asked who will be the speaker, Horgan replied that the legislature will make that decision. He said that the agreement between the NDP and the B.C. Greens will be presented in the "next number of days" to Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon.
If Clark asks the lieutenant-governor to dissolve the legislature and call an election, Guichon has the authority to do so. However, Guichon can also force the premier's resignation and ask the NDP to form a government.
One of the key considerations in reaching the deal, according to Weaver, was the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
"Obviously there are things that are near and dear to my heart, to the heart of my caucus colleagues, as well as to the B.C. NDP and their caucus," said Weaver. "There was negotiations there. But you know, one of the things I can say is that the issue of Kinder Morgan is one that I have been heavily invested into. My colleage, Adam Olsen, and I were both interveners."
He noted that the third member of the B.C. Green caucus, Sonia Furstenau, participated in the citizens' climate lobby.
"This issue of Kinder Morgan was one that was critical to us and I think you'll see that reflected in tomorrow's announcement, assuming that the B.C. NDP caucus ratifies," he said.
Weaver also revealed at the news conference that he received a phone message from Clark shortly before the news conference but he hadn't returned it before attending the joint announcement with Horgan.
Weaver said that his team had informed one of the B.C. Liberal negotiators, Brad Bennett, that the B.C. Greens had decided to back an NDP government.