Premier John Horgan waves to supporters after announcing there will be a fall election at a press conference in Langford, B.C., on Monday Sept. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Premier John Horgan waves to supporters after announcing there will be a fall election at a press conference in Langford, B.C., on Monday Sept. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

NDP leader John Horgan made his first campaign stop Tuesday in a tightly contested North Vancouver constituency, promising further expansion of primary health care centres and defending his decision to call an election a year before his minority government mandate expires.

Horgan acknowledged the co-operation between the NDP and B.C. Liberals on emergency spending and restrictions since March, but argued that co-operation slipped away as a crucial budget vote approaches next spring. He said the imminent defeat of two proposed laws introduced this summer, and the retirement of former B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, made him decide to call an election for Oct. 24.

“The level of contempt, the level of acrimony between the parties struck me as, at some point will no longer be sufficient to make sure we were all focused on the people of British Columbia,” Horgan said Sept. 22. “The prospect of coming to budget time in February, and having a confidence vote and having to be forced into an election in February and March, was something that I didn’t believe was in the best interests of British Columbians. I felt that now was the time to do this.”

New B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau said she met with Horgan on Friday (Sept. 18), and assured him that she and fellow Green MLA Adam Olsen still support the minority government agreement that contained an explicit promise not to call an early vote before October 2021.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson kicked off his campaign saying Horgan is trying to protect employment for NDP MLAs.

Another factor cited by Horgan was the pending retirement of seven NDP MLAs, including the current finance, forests and Indigenous relations ministers, along with a group of B.C. Liberal veterans. One of those, former Surrey-White Rock MLA Tracy Redies, has already retired, giving the NDP an extra vote in the B.C. legislature for up to six months.

RELATED: Mail-in voting may delay B.C. election result for weeks

RELATED: B.C. Liberals, Greens blast COVID-19 election call

“So it seemed to me that the time to renew our legislature was now,” Horgan said. “Fifteen or more MLAs not focused on their constituents, as much as they’ve all worked very hard over the years, means that there are gaps in the representation of our province. And the time to fix that is now, at the front end of the pandemic, not in the middle of it.”

Horgan promised that a re-elected NDP government would open 10 more urgent and primary care centres in B.C. communities, bringing doctors and health support staff under a single roof to replace the traditional family practice model that has left many people without a regular doctor. The NDP says there are 21 urgent care centres open or under construction, taking pressure off hospital emergency rooms dealing with pandemic cases on top of the regular acute-care demand.

His initial stop in the unscheduled election campaign was with North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma, the first NDP member elected on the North Shore in 25 years.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Lake Babine Nation closure sign
Lake Babine Nation issues COVID numbers update

Urges members to follow provincial health orders

NH representative confirmed that people who received their first dose will be scheduled to receive their second dose within the recommended timeframe.(The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette photo)
Vaccine rollout abruptly halted in Lakes District

Northern Health cites Pfizer shipment delays for the vaccine distribution disruption

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Most Read