B.C. Premier John Horgan announced on Monday that he will officially terminate his minority government with the B.C. Green Party and called an election for Oct. 24.
Opposition parties have demanded Horgan not call an election a year early as B.C.’s COVID-19 cases increase to the point where the province has the highest per-capita infection rate in Canada.
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar said he is “absolutely” running for re-election, and is disappointed that the premier chose to “play games” over the last few months.
But he said the team is ready to go.
“We’re going to be putting our vision for the riding and the province forward,” said Milobar.
He added Premier Horgan may be using polling data as a reason for calling an election to seize power. But for the people in the North Thompson, things may not be looking well for him.
“I look at the 75 to 100 pipeliners that have now been laid off and the impact that’s having in Clearwater and surrounding area simply because of a lack of getting permits in a timely fashion from government,” said Milobar. “Instead of the premier figuring out how to speed up those permits for properly and legally allowable projects, he’s decided to call an election.”
There are a few issues in the North Thompson that may be sitting on voters’ minds but Milobar said it’s unsure where Horgan lands on any of them, including Indigenous reconciliation, notably situations like the Tiny House Warriors in Blue River versus an LNG project and questions from Vavenby about why they didn’t receive more supports or help from the Canfor tenure transfer fee.
“I think there’s understandably a lot of skepticism by a great many people out there about how trustworthy the premier actually is and what that actually means for the Kamloops-North Thompson riding,” he said. “It’s been three-and-a-half years of this government doing nothing but try to slow projects down that would help the Valley…I think whoever decides to run for the NDP is going to have a lot of things to have to answer for on behalf of Premier Horgan and his broken promises to the Valley.”
The Times reached out to both the NDP and Green Parties for candidate information, but they did not reply by the time of publication.
B.C.’s election law specifies a minimum 28-day campaign period with an election falling on a Saturday, so the next available date from Monday’s announcement is Oct. 24. The law currently specifies the next election in the fall of 2021, but permits the lieutenant governor to accept a recommendation for an earlier vote.
Curently, Horgan is leading a minority government under a “confidence and supply agreement” signed in 2017 with the B.C. Green Party.
During a news conference Monday, newly elected Green leader Sonia Furstenau called the decision for an election “irresoponsible and unnecessary.”
BC Liberal and Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson called on Horgan to stick to focusing on the ongoing pandemic.
“For no good reason whatsoever, we’re now being forced into a general election that nobody in British Columbia wants except the NDP,” Wilkinson said. “The only reason for this general election is to try to secure the jobs of the NDP.”
Election dates and info:
Election Day in B.C. is set for Saturday, Oct. 24. Elections BC has confirmed advanced voting will take place Friday, Oct. 16 to Wednesday, Oct. 21.
British Columbians also have the option to vote by mail-in ballot. Elections BC officials will be releasing information in the days to come.
With files from Ashley Wadhwani and Tom Fletcher