By Jessica Berget, Assistant Editor
After weeks of the looming possibility of a snap election, on Monday September 21, BC premier and NDP leader John Horgan announced that one will be coming up on October 24.
Even though BC has an election date coming up in October 2021, Horgan says waiting another year would be “time wasted.” It is a controversial move which many have criticized in the middle of a pandemic, but Horgan has contested those complaints: “This pandemic will be with us for a year or more, and that’s why I believe we need to have an election now,” he said in a live news conference. “We can either delay that decision and create uncertainty and instability over the next 12 months [… ] or we can do what I believe is always the right thing and ask British Columbians what they think.”
The election has been called because of what Horgan calls “acrimony” and “contempt” between the NDP and opposition parties which complicates and distracts from managing and recovering with the pandemic. Horgan’s solution to “put the politics behind” is an election.
Many have criticized Horgan’s decision for holding an election during a pandemic as selfish and irresponsible. BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson is a strong voice in this criticism to, calling the move “cynical.” In a CTV News BC article, he says: “The only reason for this general election is to try to secure the jobs of the NDP. The decision by John Horgan and the NDP to call this election at this time is not just irresponsible. It’s just plain wrong,” he said.
Fellow leader Sonia Furstenau of the BC Green Party had similar sentiments: “Let’s be clear, this is about him and his party putting their fortunes ahead of British Columbians at a time when people are worried about their jobs, their financial security, their children, and their health.”
Echoing that opinion, a recent Angus Reid survey poll indicated if an election was held the NDP could secure a massive victory because of Horgan’s positive public image in dealing with coronavirus. The survey suggested the NDP would receive 48 percent of votes, 29 percent for the Liberals, and 14 percent for the Green party.
A political scientist from the University of Fraser Valley, Hamish Telford, said in an Global News interview that the NDP may be gambling with their high approval rating in an attempt to get majority seats in government. “He’s the most popular premier in the country right now, largely because of his response to COVID,” said Telford. “He’s had a very able health minister in Adrian Dix, and of course Dr. Bonnie Henry has become a folk hero in BC. So, he wants to be able to parlay his minority government into a majority at this time,” he said.
Whether this election will fare well for the NDP is undetermined till come election day. Elections BC says there will be advance voting available from October 15 to October 21 and are also reminding voters they can cast ballots by mail.