Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Premier John Horgan is well into his third year of governing. He must occasionally pinch himself, finding it hard to believe that his minority government is still in power.

Horgan is a realist. He has said on a number of occasions recently that the minority NDP government, propped up by three Green MLAs, is not counting on a full term. The next election is scheduled for Oct. 16, 2021.

The most likely challenge comes from former Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. Without his signature on a confidence and supply agreement, Horgan would not be premier.

Weaver has resigned as Green Party leader and has left the party’s caucus to sit as an independent. This is not due to a disagreement with the party. It is primarily an issue of principle. He has said he remains bound by the agreement. The only way his new status becomes a challenge is if he resigns his seat. There have been rumours that he could give up his Oak Bay-Gordon Head seat to return to teaching at the University of Victoria. Some suggest he will wait until the Green Party elects a new leader, and if that leader is not Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau, he or she will need a seat. Adam Olsen, the other Green MLA, is serving as interim leader and isn’t running for the permanent position.

It’s interesting speculation, but Weaver is his own master and plays the game of politics quite differently.

There is little likelihood of any NDP MLA stepping down. Surrey Panorama MLA Jinny Sims has left the cabinet and is under investigation, but it seems unlikely that will lead to her resignation as an MLA. If there was a byelection, it would likely be a close vote. The BC Liberals held the seat almost continuously from 2001, except for a brief period when Jagrup Brar (now MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood) won it in a 2004 byelection and again in the 2005 election.

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along. There are plenty of positive signs, but government revenues are slipping and the forestry crisis isn’t getting any better.

Another challenge is continuing to advance the reconciliation agenda. The present challenge to construction of a natural gas pipeline to feed a Kitimat LNG plant is a stark reminder that not all First Nations groups feel warm and fuzzy about the B.C. government.

A third major challenge are the twin issues of ICBC and ride-sharing. Both of these are high on the radar screen in urban areas. Without movement to make ICBC rates more affordable and ride-sharing actually available, the NDP will lose votes.

Leadership on these two issues by Attorney-General David Eby (ICBC) and Transportation Minister Claire Trevina (ride-sharing) has been uninspiring. There have been colourful comments, but no concrete action in actually making life more affordable for drivers and offering more rides to people without cars.

The premier’s biggest asset is himself. He is a friendly, likeable guy – at ease with ordinary people and comfortable in his own skin. He comes across well. Most B.C. residents, even if they did not vote for him, like his approach to the job.

This asset may come in very handy between now and whenever the next election takes place.

READ MORE: B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

READ MORE: Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour, hereditary chief says

Frank Bucholtz is a columnist and former editor with Black Press Media. Email him at frank.bucholtz@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink breaks ground on meter station in Kitimat

Meter station marks final point on pipeline that stretches from Northeast B.C.

Mayoral nominations open Sept. 1

Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill confirms she will be running for the top job

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Friendship Centre optimistic MMIWG mural will be painted this year

Following trauma-informed healing workshops, project is now in the design phase

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Infamous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and other destinations

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Laid-off B.C. hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Researchers find cannabis use in pregnancy linked to greater risk of autism

Researchers caution findings only show association — not cause and effect

Small Manitoba town mourning after well-liked teens killed by tornado

Melita residents feeling profound grief after the deaths of Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury

Most Read