Right wing Liberals remain short of a majority in British Columbia after more ballots counted

A provincial election update:

The NDP have jumped into a 101-vote lead over the Liberals in the battle for Courtenay-Comox, a riding that could decide which party governs British Columbia.

The final count of absentee ballots continues today, but as of the last update Tuesday afternoon, the NDP’s Ronna-Rae Leonard was leading Liberal candidate Jim Benninger 10,481 votes to 10,380.

Officials have counted slightly more than half the 2,077 absentee ballots in the riding.

The outcome of the race has the potential to alter the province’s political landscape.

A Liberal victory would give the party 44 seats and a bare majority in the 87-seat legislature. The NDP would finish with 40 and the B.C. Green Party with three.

As a reminder, the NDP, or New Democratic Party, is the main progressive party in British Columbia, while the Liberals are the main right wing party. The Greens are a minor party that are on the rise, having only won their first riding (what Canadians call a district) in 2013. The Greens have now tripled their numbers and will decide which of the major parties governs the province if these results hold.

There are still some absentee ballots left to count.

Progressive activists aren’t waiting for final numbers to call for a coalition government between the New Democratic Party and the Greens.

With the final election results still unclear, the calls for co-operation remain speculative but a reminder to both the Greens and the NDP that many of their supporters see them as natural allies.

“If no party has a strong majority after the final ballots are counted, the NDP and the Greens have a historic opportunity to make good on the important policies they both campaigned on – but only if they work together,” said Lyndsay Poaps, executive director of Leadnow, the umbrella organization that delivered a petition with 25,000 names calling for an alliance between the two parties.

NDP leader John Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver aren’t the best of friends, but they will need to put their personal differences aside if the Liberals are to be dislodged after having held power for fifteen years.