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B.C. Voters Prepare To Cast Their Votes In Tuesday Election

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Craig McCulloch
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New Democratic Party leader John Horgan (left) is facing off against incumbent Premier Christy Clark (right).

Voters in British Columbia are heading the the ballot box Tuesday to elect a new premier and provincial government.

During the official 28-day campaign, several cross-border issues were debated by the three major parties and their leaders.

Chief among them, the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline expansion, which would see a massive increase in oil tanker traffic through Puget Sound.

After being approved by the Canadian government, the right-leaning B.C. Liberal Party of incumbent Premier Christy Clark has given environmental approval, but says it will hold the expansion to high environmental standards.

The left-leaning New Democratic Party and leader John Horgan, along with the Green Party and leader Andrew Weaver have vowed to stop the expansion.

The expired softwood lumber agreement also got attention, after President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Canadian lumber.  Both Clark and Horgan vow to help secure a good agreement for the province’s forest industry.

Late in the campaign, Liberal leader Clark promised to ban all exports of thermal coal from British Columbia, regardless of it originating in the United States or Canada.

Other issues range from increased provincial support for universal healthcare, education, transportation and new infrastructure, particularly in the greater Vancouver area, where more than half the population of British Columbia calls home.

Voters will cast ballots in 87 constituencies. Under the British parliamentary system, the party with the most seats forms government and the party leader becomes head of the provincial government, in this case, premier.