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

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical health officer, immunizes Victoria Schmid, Island Health’s vice-president of pandemic planning. (Submitted photo)
Island Health advising people to get a flu shot

People looking to get vaccinated should book an appointment, says Island Health

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Second hospital long overdue

Tertiary model would be best served by a completely new design, says letter writer

Artist’s rendering of a townhouse development approved for the south end of Ninth Street. (Straight Street Design image)
Townhouse development on Ninth Street gets nod from Nanaimo city council

Development permit issued for 47-unit project near Parkway Trail

City of Nanaimo flag. (News Bulletin file photo)
Clean B.C., City of Nanaimo offer rebates for homeowners to update heating systems

New rebate program offered for renovations installed until March 31

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at Vancouver Island location

HMCS Quadra is serving as the winter training base for the Canadian… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

Jordan Jay Ward, 20, is wanted Canada-wide for manslaughter. (Calgary police photo)
RCMP: Suspicious man seen in Parksville woods resembled manslaughter suspect

Hikers say he resembled Jordan Jay Ward, wanted Canada-wide

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Most Read