BC Premier John Horgan. (Photo supplied by BC Government Flickr)
There will be a provincial election here in B.C. on Oct. 24th.
After weeks of speculation, Premier John Horgan announced the call today.
“I have just met with the Lieutenant Governor and she has agreed with my request to hold an election…,” Horgan said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything — the people of British Columbia deserve a say in the direction of our recovery and the future of our province.”
Horgan said the NDP minority government lasted over three years, much longer than most minority governments.
“We’ve made a lot of progress for people over the last three years. We invested in healthcare and schools. We build transit, housing and childcare centres. We eliminated the MSP—the largest middle-class tax cut in BC history—and during this pandemic, we kept people safe while staying focused on what matters,” Horgan said.
“The BC Liberals are pushing for changes that benefit the wealthy and well-connected—at your expense. We have a plan to keep you safe, and to make life better and more affordable for people. We’ve accomplished a lot on what matters most to people, and there’s a lot more work ahead of us.”
Horgan says this election will have additional public health measures “to ensure the safety of everyone.”
“Like a lot of things these days, this election is going to look different than previous ones. I know we can do it safely,” Horgan said. “There will be new opportunities for people to vote in advance or by a mail-in-ballot from the comfort of their homes.”
Horgan’s decision to call a snap election has come under fire from both the BC Liberal Party and BC Green Party.
Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson says it’s not only ill-timed, but it’s also self-serving.
“The only reason for this general election is to try to secure the jobs of the NDP,” Wilkinson said.
B.C.’s new Green Party Leader agreed, saying this is a terrible time to be considering an election.
Sonia Furstenau says with a surge in COVID-19 cases in BC, it’s time to put service and responsibility, first and foremost.
“When we have been lauded as a province, for the exceptional response that we’ve had so far because of the cooperation and collaboration in responding to COVID-19, it’s just unacceptable that the premier is willing to risk the health and wellbeing of the people of British Columbia for no reason. It’s unnecessary.”
The NDP has been showing strongly in the polls, largely due to the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Elections BC says there will be advanced voting from Friday, Oct. 16th to Wednesday, Oct. 21st.
The agency is reminding voters they can cast a ballot by mail in a bid to reduce crowds at polling stations.
According to Insights West’s ‘Government of British Columbia Report Card’, released in the mid-summer, Horgan’s popularity as leader hit an all-time high.
The province’s pandemic response at the time was a big reason behind the massive jump in approval ratings for both the BC NDP and Horgan.
Pre-pandemic, Horgan’s approval rating was already strong, but it’s since skyrocketed 17 points in just seven months to 68 percent.
That was the highest level than for any political leader in B.C. since tracking began eight years ago.