Think this is bad? Imagine a Liberal minority backed by Greens

by Don Braid, Calgary Herald

Take a wary look at British Columbia; a shaky NDP government, supported by three Greens, fiercely hostile to the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Now, imagine the same dynamic in Ottawa after the fall federal election.

Try not to pass out.

It’s by no means unthinkable that the Liberals will be reduced to a minority. To stay in power, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would have to rely on backing from the NDP.

That’s the traditional view, anyway. But if any party is poised for a breakout, it’s the Greens, who will never be persuaded to compromise on pipelines or almost any matter involving Alberta’s energy industry.

In B.C., the provincial Greens have turned Premier John Horgan’s NDP from sniffs of pipeline disapproval to outright enmity.

The federal Liberals have long shown such flexibility in the interests of power. Justin Trudeau’s dad, Pierre, was very good at it during the Liberal minority of 1972-74.

A Green wave sounds crazy from any Alberta perch. In the April provincial election, Green candidates got 0.4 per cent of the vote.

But Elizabeth May’s federal party won the May 6 byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding on Vancouver Island.

It wasn’t even close. The Green candidate got 37 per cent of the vote, nearly 15 points ahead of both the Conservative and NDP contestants.

The Liberals scored 11 per cent. Trudeau is no more popular in certain B.C. quarters than he is in Alberta — which is part of the point.

On April 23, the Greens captured eight seats in the Prince Edward Island election. They now hold the hammer over a minority Progressive Conservative government.

These victories nudge the Greens from the fringes to growing respectability. Many young progressives in the big cities, usually NDP or Liberal supporters, are attracted to Green policies.

Nationally, Nanos weekly tracking shows Conservatives at 35 per cent; Liberals, 30; NDP, 15; and the Greens edging up at 11 per cent.


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