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British Columbia premier recalls government for confidence vote

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark will recall the provincial legislature June 22 for a vote that will determine who will run the province in the wake of an election that left no single party with enough seats to form a government.

Clark is proposing two orders of business for the session, according to a June 7 statement from Government House Leader Michael de Jong. The first is the election of the Speaker of the House, a position that is usually neutral but holds the deciding vote if members of the government are in a tie. After a speaker is selected a so-called confidence vote will be held to determine if the members of the legislature have faith in Clark's government.

"Today, on behalf of Premier Christy Clark, I informed the Office of the Speaker that the legislature will be recalled on Thursday, June 22, 2017," de Jong said in the statement on the government website. "The first order of business in this new parliament will be the election of a speaker. After which, and in the aftermath of a very close election, the government will seek to determine if it continues to enjoy the confidence of the house."

Clark has held on to power since an election May 9 gave her ruling Liberal Party the most seats in the Legislative Assembly at 43, but a minority when the 41 seats won by the New Democratic Party and the three elected members of the Green Party are combined. The Greens and the New Democrats have agreed to work as a bloc to defeat Clark's government. Once a speaker is named, likely from the opposing parties to avoid reducing the Liberal vote count, the parties will be tied with the speaker holding the deciding vote. If a government loses a confidence vote the provincial lieutenant governor, the Queen's representative in the province, has the option of sanctioning a new government made up of the dissenting parties or calling a new election.

If the New Democrats and Greens gain control of the government, they have vowed to halt a number of resource-development projects that include BC Hydro and Power Authority's under-construction Site C power plant and the Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would increase shipments from oil sands facilities in northeastern Alberta to a marine terminal in British Columbia's populous Lower Mainland region.