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

Doug Routley of the NDP is relaxed after learning he’d won a fifth term as MLA. (Photo submitted)
NDP dominance continues in Nanaimo-North Cowichan with Routley’s reelection

Runner-up Istace enthused about the rise of the Greens in the riding and the province

Municipality of North Cowichan.
Public engagement demonstrates lingering concerns over emissions reduction targets

Chemainus grads’ 2020 prom venue restricted to four events next year

Doug Routley has retained his seat as Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA. (Photo submitted)
Routley retains his post as Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA

NDP stronghold in the riding continues despite a strong challenge from the Greens’ Istace

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak forces closure of Kelowna school

The outbreak is the first within B.C.’s school system since classes resumed back in September

Most Read