B.C. Premier John Horgan’s July 18, 2017 cabinet swearing-in ceremony at Government House featured Songhees dancers. COVID-19 precautions will require a much simpler affair. (Arnold Lim/Black Press Media)

B.C. Premier John Horgan’s July 18, 2017 cabinet swearing-in ceremony at Government House featured Songhees dancers. COVID-19 precautions will require a much simpler affair. (Arnold Lim/Black Press Media)

Many new MLAs may delay B.C. legislature’s return to after Christmas

Premier John Horgan wants vote to approve COVID-19 payments

A big crop of new, mostly NDP MLAs and a spiking COVID-19 infection rate make it questionable whether B.C. Premier John Horgan can call the legislature into session before the end of 2020 to deliver on one of his key campaign promises.

“We do hope to bring the legislature back before Christmas, but with the increasing cases in the past ten days or so, that has challenged our ability to bring people together in Victoria for swearing in,” Horgan told reporters Oct. 9. With 21 new government MLAs and five opposition newcomers, swearing in by Lt. Governor Janet Austin and interviews for cabinet appointments have to be finished first.

Asked about his campaign promise to send out another round of pandemic payments, $1,000 per household or $500 to individuals, Horgan kept his option open to do the $1.4 billion expenditure by cabinet order. With a 57-seat majority after a record counting of mail-in ballots was completed, the legislature vote would be a formality.

“My first choice is to recall the legislature, get this business done and passed for people, and then move on,” Horgan said.

RELATED: B.C. legislature approves spending with only 10 MLAs

RELATED: NDP takes Vernon-Monashee for first time since 1980s

Newly elected NDP MLAs include Pam Alexis in Abbotsford-Mission, who edged out incumbent B.C. Liberal Simon Gibson. Roly Russell replaces retired B.C. Liberal Linda Larson in Boundary-Similkameen, and Harwinder Sandhu took Vernon-Monashee from B.C. Liberal Eric Foster.

The NDP’s unexpected Chilliwack sweep includes Kelli Paddon, who defeated independent Laurie Throness in Chilliwack-Kent after he resigned from the B.C. Liberal Party over his remarks about birth control. Dan Coulter takes over for incumbent B.C. Liberal John Martin in Chilliwack.

Another upset was Langley, where Andrew Mercier defeated B.C. Liberal veteran Mary Polak, and the NDP’s Megan Dykeman took the seat long held by retired B.C. Liberal Rich Coleman. B.C. Liberal incumbent Marvin Hunt lost to NDP newcomer Mike Starchuk in Surrey-Cloverdale.

New B.C. Liberal MLAs include Bruce Banman in Abbotsford South, replacing retired B.C. legislature speaker Darryl Plecas, Lorne Doerkson replacing retired political veteran Donna Barnett in Cariboo-Chilcotin, and Renee Merrifield, elected in Kelowna Mission after the retirement of former forests minister Steve Thomson. Trevor Halford held Surrey-White Rock for the B.C. Liberals after the retirement of one-term MLA Tracy Redies, and Karin Kirkpatrick replaced six-term B.C. Liberal Ralph Sultan in West Vancouver-Capilano.

Former NDP MP Fin Donnelly defeated first-term B.C. Liberal Joan Isaacs in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, and former Tofino mayor Josie Osborne held Mid Island-Pacific Rim for the NDP after the retirement of another former Tofino mayor, Scott Fraser.

Brittny Anderson held Nelson-Creston for the NDP after the retirement of Michelle Mungall, and Jennifer Whiteside replaced the retired Judy Darcy in the NDP stronghold of New Westminster. Michele Babchuk is the MLA-elect for North Island after the retirement of Claire Trevena, and Susie Chant took North Vancouver-Seymour for the NDP from B.C. Liberal Jane Thornthwaite.

Former NDP MP Murray Rankin replaces Andrew Weaver in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, reducing the B.C. Green Party to two MLAs, pending a judicial recount in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky where Green Jeremy Valeriote lost to B.C. Liberal incumbent Jordan Sturdy by 41 votes.

Former MP Nathan Cullen held Stikine for the NDP after the retirement of Doug Donaldson, and the NDP’s Adam Walker defeated two-term MLA Michelle Stilwell in Parksville-Qualicum, leaving no B.C. Liberals on Vancouver Island.

In close wins for the NDP in Lower Mainland seats, Aman Singh took Richmond-Queensborough from one-term B.C. Liberal Jas Johal, and Henry Yao defeated B.C. Liberal Alexa Loo in Richmond South Centre. Former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan was defeated by NDP newcomer Brenda Bailey in Vancouver-False Creek, and Niki Sharma held Vancouver-Hastings for the NDP after the retirement of Shane Simpson.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Mackenzie Cox representing the first Black Shirt Day at North Island Secondary. (Zoe Ducklow Photo)
Port McNeill Grade 12 student observes Black Shirt Day for anti-racism

‘Wearing that colour T-shirt for that day is a commitment to show that we care.’

Port McNeill council file photo. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Port McNeill council approves utility fees increase

The fees cover the three major services the town provides; water, solid waste and sewage.

Black Press media file
RCMP catch alleged drunk driver

The driver provided breathalyzer samples in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Nursing staff at West Coast General Hospital celebrate the announcement of a $6.25-million expansion of the emergency department that will start in March 2021. (File photo)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

Most Read