KAMLOOPS — The province witnessed a major shift in political power last night, as Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberals were defeated in a confidence vote.
NDP leader John Horgan is now the premier-designate.
Liberal MLAs Peter Milobar and Todd Stone are now set to become members of the opposition, marking the first time in memory that Kamloops has not been represented by a member of the government.
So begins a new era in BC politics.
"It hasn't been since 1952 that we've had a minority government, and it's been even longer since a confidence motion like what we experienced yesterday actually has happened in British Columbia's legislature," Stone said.
After 16 years in government, the BC Liberals lost a confidence vote 44-42 in the legislature. Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon asked NDP leader John Horgan to form government.
"John Horgan is the premier-elect at this moment," Stone said. "At some point in the next couple of weeks he will be sworn in as our next premier and an NDP cabinet will be sworn in. At that moment, I will cease to be the minister of transportation, and we'll have a new government."
As MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, Stone's work is far from over.
"The most important consideration is doing the best possible job you can representing your constituents," Stone said. "With my partner Peter Milobar we're going to fight tooth and nail to make sure that Kamloops and the Thompson Valleys gets every project and every initiative and all of the attention that it deserves."
Stone believes the incoming premier will have plenty of challenges ahead, especially since the Liberals have no intention to provide a speaker of the house.
"We're not interested in propping up an NDP government by providing a Liberal speaker, which means the speaker has to come from among the NDP and the Green members," Stone said. "That's only fair, we did it when we were government these last few weeks, they will need to step up and do it. That essentially means that every vote will be a tie."
While Stone says he is profoundly disappointed to be leaving government, he remains proud of Premier Christy Clark.
"I've known Christy Clark for over 30 years and I have immense respect for her," Stone said. "I have been very proud to serve with her for the last four years. I have appreciated so much the faith that she had in me to be her transportation minister for the last four years and I can't think of anyone stronger to serve as leader of the opposition to hold this NDP government to account."
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