Horgan says ‘acrimony’ between parties over the summer spurred call for snap election

Horgan says ‘acrimony’ between parties over the summer spurred call for snap election

VANCOUVER — B.C. Premier John Horgan says his decision to call an election started to crystallize in the summer when his minority government ran into legislative challenges.

Speaking in North Vancouver on Tuesday, the leader of the NDP acknowledged there has been “extraordinary co-operation” between Health Minister Adrian Dix and the opposition parties when it comes to tackling COVID-19.

But he said “contempt” and “acrimony” between the parties would divert focus away from managing and recovering from the pandemic, and the best way to “put the politics behind us” was to hold an election.

“We need to be sure that the public is with us and the best way forward is a stable government,” he said.

“The prospect of us 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 interest of British Columbians.”

Horgan assured voters that provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has made it clear to him that the election set for Oct. 24 can be held safely.

But Green Leader Sonia Furstenau disputed Horgan’s explanation Tuesday, saying she told him as recently as Friday that her party is committed to a stable government.

She released a letter she gave to Horgan on Friday that outlines policy areas she believes require stronger action but that she saw as “the starting place to guide our further work together.”

The letter says COVID-19 could not have been anticipated when the Green caucus signed an agreement propping up the NDP minority government in 2017, “but the response from all parties has been guided by the same commitment to collaboration and communication, with all three political parties coming together to serve our province.”

She wrote that tearing up the agreement and calling an election risks undoing that progress.

“The more you let partisanship pollute public discourse, the less trust people will have in their leaders. And trust in our leaders will be essential for the difficult road ahead.”

She said despite the “completely unnecessary” election, the Greens are ready for the campaign, adding that the party received a record donation on Monday in the tens of thousands of dollars.

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson called for three televised debates during the provincial election campaign so voters can hear what each party has to offer.

Voters need information and debates are the best way to provide it during the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilkinson said.

He said voters need to hear the visions of all three party leaders on issues including employment, child care and addiction.

“We’re putting out the message to British Columbians that they need more information in this election. It’s a pandemic election and we’ve never done this before,” Wilkinson said, noting voters won’t have access to party leaders at large gatherings like in typical campaigns.

Horgan said he would not be involved in a decision to hold the three debates, but he added he’s happy to talk to people in any format that’s safe and allows a full “airing of the issues.”

Furstenau said she fully expects to participate in the debates given what she described as the Greens “pivotal” role in B.C. politics over the past three years.

Wilkinson began the first day of the campaign by touting the Liberals’ candidates so far, adding he expects to have an entire slate by the end of the week.

He said the Liberal party also expects to release its election platform in about a week, while Horgan said the NDP is also working on a platform that will be released prior to the election.

— With files from Amy Smart and Camille Bains.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2020.

___

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press

British Columbia

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

 

Just Posted

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID cases climb in central zone, Red Deer

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in the province reached 3,138… Continue reading

Many rural municipalities were concerned about a proposed reduction to their industrial revenues, but Alberta’s municipal affairs minister has come up with an alternative solution. (Photo contributed)
Energy industry support won’t injure municipalities

Creating new wells or pipelines would result in a three year ‘tax holiday’

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Premier Jason Kenney participated in a livestream on Oct. 17, 2020. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
UCP members pass resolution at AGM calling for privately funded health care option

EDMONTON — Members of Alberta’s governing United Conservative Party have narrowly endorsed… Continue reading

“We weren’t sure what to expect with just doing the 50/50. We have been positively surprised with sales so far,” says Craig Fleming, co-chair of the Red Deer Kinsmen Club’s raffle. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Non-profits put their money on 50/50 draws

COVID impacts fundraising events

Student taking a math test. (Pixabay photo)
David Marsden: Students need more testing, not less

Testing has been central to Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s… Continue reading

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti responds to a question during a news conference about training for judges Monday October 19, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Commons gives approval in principle to judges’ sexual assault training bill

Commons gives approval in principle to judges’ sexual assault training bill

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau appear at the WE Day celebrations in Ottawa, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015. WE Charity covered nearly $24,000 in expenses for Sophie Grégoire Trudeau's attendance at eight events over eight years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tories to force debate on anticorruption committee as Liberals warn of consequences

Tories to force debate on anticorruption committee as Liberals warn of consequences

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney makes an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Kenney says he and the federal Conservative leader did everything reasonable to respect COVID-19 guidelines during a livestream this weekend. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
All reasonable COVID-19 precautions taken during livestream with O’Toole: Kenney

All reasonable COVID-19 precautions taken during livestream with O’Toole: Kenney

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U. S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U. S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

COVID-19 cases in Canada surpass 200,000

COVID-19 cases in Canada surpass 200,000

The Bank of Canada building is seen in Ottawa, Wednesday, April 15, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Companies have modest hiring plans, low wage growth expectations, Bank of Canada says

Companies have modest hiring plans, low wage growth expectations, Bank of Canada says

The TMX Group logo is shown in Toronto on Friday June 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
North American stock markets fall on uncertainty over U.S. stimulus before election

North American stock markets fall on uncertainty over U.S. stimulus before election

Most Read