Exclusive: Lieutenant-governor speaks for first time about minority government (with video)

Judith Guichon could be asked to decide fate of province if Premier can’t win support of Greens.

Lieutenant-governor Judith Guichon has been reading up on the decisions she might have to make if the BC Liberals can’t obtain the confidence of the legislature in a throne speech.

Guichon, who was in Abbotsford Friday to speak to students at Mennonite Educational Institute, will be watching with the rest of British Columbia to see if the province’s politicians can work together in a minority legislature.

“Hopefully they’ll all get to work and govern,” she told The News Friday in what appears to be her first statement to the media since the results were confirmed earlier this week.

If Premier Christy Clark can’t garner a majority of votes in the legislature for an upcoming throne speech or budget, it would fall to Guichon to decide what happens.

While Clark could ask Guichon to dissolve the house, triggering a new election if the BC Liberals lose a vote of confidence, the lieutenant-governor could opt to ask NDP leader John Horgan if he could gain the backing of the house, including the three Green Party MLAs who currently hold the balance of power.

After speaking to students about British Columbia’s history and her role, Guichon was asked by an MEI student about what would happen if the Green Party can’t reach a deal with the other two parties.

“There’s a lot of different possibilities,” Guichon said, before noting that it is “quite likely” Premier Christy Clark will attempt to win support for a throne speech in the legislature. That could pass, but Guichon noted that a budget to follow “would be perhaps a more controversial aspect.”

She said optimistically, “perhaps we’ll have a new era where everybody will work together … I, like the rest of you, will tune into watch very closely.”

Later, Guichon told The News she had spoken to the Premier following the election results, and had also been consulting widely about her role since then.

Guichon, who does not appear to have given any media interviews since the election earlier this month, said she stayed up late on election night watching results come in. She spoke to Clark following the election, as is standard.

Asked about potentially having to decide the future of B.C.’s government, she said simply, “That is a possibility.” Asked what she’s done to prepare, she said “Just to read all I can about all the [possibilities] and get the best legal advice.”

Guichon was at MEI as part of a tour of 150 schools this year to mark Canada’s 150th birthday. After speaking to students, she was treated to performances by the MEI chamber singers and marching band and presented with a gift.

 

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