Premier John Horgan announces there will be a fall election as he speaks during a press conference in Langford, B.C., on Monday September 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

BC VOTES 2020

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

After rolling out dozens of spending announcements and updates in recent days, B.C. Premier John Horgan has officially terminated his minority government agreement 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.

At a news conference in his home community of Langford Sept. 21, Horgan said he has “struggled mightily” with the decision to call an early vote, but the long duration of the pandemic requires stability. That stability is eroded three and a half years into his term with former B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver sitting as an independent and preparing to retire, he said.

“I believe the best way forward is to put the politics behind us,” Horgan said, adding that sticking to the legislated election schedule would be “time well wasted.”

Horgan has requested the province’s lieutenant governor, Janet Austin, to call the next election, the B.C. NDP said in a statement Monday morning. The party said Horgan “will address how British Columbians deserve a say in our economic recovery and will decide the future of our province.”

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.

Currently, Horgan is leading a minority government under a “confidence and supply agreement” signed in 2017 with the B.C. Green Party. Newly elected Green leader Sonia Furstenau said she met with Horgan on Friday to assure him that the two remaining B.C. Green MLAs would continue to support the government.

Since early last week, five of the B.C. NDP’s cabinet ministers announced they wouldn’t be seeking re-election: Forest Minister Doug Donaldson, Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser, Jobs Minister Michelle Mungall, Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy and Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.

Social Development Minister Shane Simpson also won’t be seeking re-election. Finance Minister Carole James announced in March that she would not be seeking re-election after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

James will manage the government while the election campaign unfolds, Horgan said.

The Greens announced Furstenau as their new leader on Sept. 13, who told supporters at the time that her party will be ready for any pending election.

During a news conference Monday, Furstenau called the decision for an election “irresponsible and unnecessary.”

“He has to realize that he is out of touch with reality for most British Columbians right now,” she said.

When asked if the Greens would support another minority government, Furstenau wouldn’t speculate on any outcomes of the election.

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 key info:

Election Day in B.C. is set for Saturday, Oct. 24. Elections BC has confirmed advanced voting will take place from 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.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

Sails down, masks up for Ron and Sherry Pryde, who completed a 119 day journey that was supposed to be 70 days. (Zoe Ducklow)
Coast Guard towed rudderless sailors to Port Hardy hours before a powerful storm

Rudderless for a month, the couple zigzagged most the way home with “a few donuts and lazy-eights”

Port Hardy Chamber of Commerce logo
COMMENTARY: Our money should be spent right here at home in the North Island region

‘By purchasing from local businesses, we are casting our vote for the kind of community we want’

Black Press file photo
Small rise in crime in Port Alice with 85 files opened in third quarter

Port Alice RCMP announced third quarter crime stats

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Chris Istace campaigning in Crofton. (Photo submitted)
Green Party’s Istace apologizes for remark about First Nations gaming grants being a ‘handout’

Island candidate determined to do better in thinking and communicating matters of reconciliation

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Most Read