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

The Dupras family has been regulars at the Babine River and have seen plentiful grizzlies over the years. (Jay Dupras photo/Lakes District News)
A family’s close encounter with a grizzly on Babine River bridge

Photo-enthusiasts let the bear access the bridge for photos putting others at risk

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

(Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory Facebook screenshot)
Ceremony a right at proposed CGL pipeline drill site: BC Union of Indian Chiefs

Indigenous land defenders cannot be criminalized and targeted, argues UBCIC

(File graphic)
Man dies in Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) after being taken into police custody

IIO and BC Corners Service conducting independent investigations

Dan Stuart (Christian Heritage Party - BC photo)
Strong values underpin Christian Heritage Party candidate

He’s also suspicious of the COVID-19 pandemic

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

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

Most Read