A minority government in British Columbia means political risk just skyrocketed for resource projects – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – May 26, 2017)


British Columbia’s election results are finally in. No matter how you cut them, they are not encouraging for planned resource projects. Those that are already advanced, like Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and some liquefied natural gas proposals, may try to march forward. A lot of money has been spent and such projects are designed to withstand electoral change over decades.

There is no denying that if B.C. was a risky place to do business when it had a majority Liberal government, due to its unique combination of having an aggressive environmental lobby and a powerful aboriginal population. But now that the Liberals have been reduced to a minority and will need the support of the Greens to stay in power — or that the left-leaning NDP and the Greens could get together to form a government of their own — the political risk has skyrocketed.

To be sure, B.C. is known as a place of wacky politics. The difference this time is that the world is watching, since much of the cash on the line comes from abroad, whether Malaysia, Europe or the United States.

The inclusion of absentee ballots this week after a tight May 9 election result confirmed that the Liberals won 43 seats in the 87-seat provincial legislature. The NDP has 41 seats and the Greens have three.

The vote for change gives oversized influence to Green Leader Andrew Weaver. He’s been in talks with both parties about forming a coalition in exchange for adoption of his own priorities, such as official party status, banning corporate and union donations to political parties, and changing the electoral system.

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