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NDP's grip on power may be challenged as MLA mulls run for mayor

Last Updated Jun 10, 2018 at 8:25 pm PDT

(Twitter, Leonard Krog)

Could we see a BC election soon? Question being raised as Nanaimo's NDP MLA considers run for mayor

While by-election in Nanaimo could put NDP's power at risk, political scientist thinks party will keep seat

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The NDP and Greens slim majority in the BC legislature may once again become glaringly obvious later this year.

According to an invitation being circulated on social media NDP Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog is expected to make an announcement on June 13, prompting many to speculate he will announce his run for mayor of the Vancouver Island city.

It would leave his seat in the legislature empty, triggering a by-election. With the Liberals currently holding 42 seats in the legislature and the NDP-Green alliance holding 44, a Liberal win would threaten the NDP’s grip on power and John Horgan’s hold of the premier’s seat.

“The first question is: are the NDP likely to lose Nanaimo? My guess at this point is probably not,” says Richard Johnston, Political Science Professor at UBC “I don’t think that there’s any particular suggestion that the NDP hold on Nanaimo is a by product of any peculiarly great popularity for Krog. This has been an NDP seat for a long time.”

Johnston believes a falling out between the Greens and NDP is more likely to trigger a provincial election. But if the NDP did lose the seat to the Liberals, the Speaker would hold the balance of power in the legislature.

“The usual rule for the Speaker is that he doesn’t vote, but if it is a tie and the speaker is not part of that tie then the speaker can cast a vote,” Johnston says “The government could limp along, so long as the Speaker’s vote is in their favour.”

It’s not clear how Darryl Plecas, the current Speaker and former Liberal would vote. Johnston adds relying on the Speaker is not a stable way to run the province and makes it more likely for the government to fall on a confidence vote, triggering a provincial election.

As for why Krog would consider an exit from the legislature?

“Leonard Krog has been around for a long time,” says Johnston “He was passed over for cabinet so he’s frustrated and being mayor is probably more interesting than being a private member.”