British Columbia legislature to return June 22 to elect speaker, test government

B.C. Green member Adam Olsen takes part in a First Nations ceremony prior to being sworn in as a member of the Legislative Assembly in the Chamber in the British Columbia Legislature Building in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Light

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - British Columbia Premier Christy Clark will recall the Western Canadian province’s legislature on June 22, the government house leader said on Wednesday, a move that could be swiftly followed by the fall of her Liberal government.

The province’s left-leaning New Democratic Party and Greens have joined forces to unseat the Liberals, who lost their legislative majority in a knife-edge election on May 9. The NDP-Greens hold 44 seats and the Liberals, who are not related to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, 43.

The NDP-Greens have vowed to block Kinder Morgan Inc’s C$7.4 billion ($5.48 billion) oil pipeline expansion in the province - setting up a conflict with Trudeau’s government and the neighboring oil-producing province of Alberta - and send the C$8.8 billion Site C dam project for review.

The new parliament’s first task will be to elect a speaker, a thorny issue as neither side wants to give up an elected seat to take on the role. The speaker is traditionally a neutral referee presiding over parliamentary debates who ensures that rules and procedures are followed.

After the speaker election, “the government will seek to determine if it continues to enjoy the confidence of the house,”

government house leader Michael de Jong said in a statement.

“I’m glad that the premier has finally decided to recall the legislature,” Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said in a statement.

Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Richard Chang and Peter Cooney