The B.C. Legislature has elected Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson as its new Speaker.
The former Liberal forestry minister will reside over the house as Premier Christy Clark’s minority government attempts to maintain its hold on power.
Thomson was the only candidate for the position and was acclaimed by the legislature Thursday morning.
“I can’t think of a better choice to set the tone, or a bigger man to enforce the rules,” said Premier Clark afterwards, referring to Thomson’s roughly 6′ 6″ frame.
NDP Leader John Horgan also liked the choice, saying, “It’s good to have a rugby guy in the chair,” adding he’s found Thomson fair with all members.
Critical role at critical time
The Speaker’s role in the legislature is normally to maintain decorum and ensure procedures are followed.
But in this case the appointment is critical because the Liberal government has a minority of 43 seats in the 87-seat legislature.
The government is expected to be defeated as early as next week in a confidence vote by the NDP and the Green alliance — together the parties have 44 seats.
Clark has already said she does not expect a Liberal MLA will stay on as Speaker if her party is defeated, meaning the NDP or Greens would likely have to appoint their own Speaker if they are asked to form the next government by the lieutenant-governor.