It is more exciting than you think
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
The BC provincial election this year is probably not the most exciting with the coronavirus pandemic still happening. Many campaign rallies had to be presented as town halls on the internet, there were not a lot of TV ads from the major parties about the election, and you may not know who is running in your riding because you were not able to engage with them because of social distancing measures. But the one thing in this election that was almost the same as previous years was the leaders’ debate, and this event has the power to get everyone talking
The debates inform viewers about the leaders of the major parties, what leaders will do if chosen, and ultimately help you decide who to vote for. The debate happened in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia with safety precautions in place and was moderated by Shachi Kurl. All the leaders of the major parties were in the debate including Premier John Horgan of the BC NDP, Andrew Wilkinson of the BC Liberal Party, and Sonia Furstenau of the BC Green Party.
The themes that were discussed in the debate included pandemic recovery, housing, the environment, and social issues. In the beginning of the debate, all but Wilkinson acknowledged that they were on the unceded territory of the Musqueam nation. During the section on pandemic recovery, Furstenau grilled Horgan on calling an election during the pandemic and breaking the agreement that they had on fixed election dates. Horgan said that he was not thinking of calling one until the pandemic happened and he still declares that the reason why he called the election was because he wanted to have a stable government handling the pandemic.
Throughout the debate, Wilkinson did not wow me though he is a doctor, and he emphasized on the idea of reducing the PST to three percent and funding programs through loans a lot. While reducing the PST could reduce the cost of everyday items, it can lead to budget cuts and fewer services. Wilkinson grilled Horgan for not building more hospitals to meet the needs of the province but they announced that they were going to build more hospitals—though they have not been built yet.
Horgan did a great job in the debate because his answers were straightforward, and he was enthusiastic. Although, he said a controversial answer when the leaders were asked about their white privilege being a political leader. Horgan responded with, “For me, I did not see colour. I felt that everyone around me was the same.” Many say he chose the wrong choice of words to describe that he had a lot of friends from various cultures and he apologized after the debate.
Furstenau was also great in the debate grilling the other leaders on various issues. The leaders also tackled BC’s Green Plan, tent cities, and protests on pipeline projects. The BC provincial election leaders’ debate this year was very informative and was helpful in learning from the major parties about how the province is going to get through the pandemic.