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

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

Jessica Lowry created a series of videos to engage Ladysmith Intermediate School students in mindfulness. (Submitted photo)
Ladysmith Intermediate teams up with local artist to introduce students to mindfulness

Ladysmith artist Jessica Lowry created a series of 36 videos to help students practice mindfulness

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Stz’uminus artist Luke Marston designs new mask for Canucks goalie

The mask features artwork inspired by the Coast Salish legend of the sea wolf

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent and CEO, has seen his contract renewed for four years, the district announced Wednesday. (SD68 YouTube screenshot)
Ladysmith school district renews superintendent’s contract for four years

‘Singing superintendent’ Scott Saywell under contract through 2024-25 school year

Emergency services were on scene at 1st Avenue and Warren Street after a skateboarder was struck by a vehicle. (Submitted photo)
Skateboarder ‘bumped’ by vehicle on 1st Avenue

Emergency services personnel say the skateboarder is uninjured

Parents Robin Ringer and Wyatt Gilmore with the No. 1 baby of 2021 in the Cowichan Valley. They have yet to decide on a name for her. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus couple excited about having the New Year’s baby for the Cowichan Valley

Recent arrivals from Fort Nelson celebrate their girl coming into the world on Jan. 7

B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)
B.C. watchdog says mentally ill children and youth retraumatized in hospital

The number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent in past decade

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Nanaimo mall, RCMP investigating

Police have searched areas of Woodgrove Centre accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Victoria waterfront

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)
Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

(News Bulletin file photo)
Car crashes along the Nanaimo Parkway, driver abandons vehicle

Mazda with ‘extensive damage’ found in the ditch in the early-morning hours Jan. 19

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
COVID rapid tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Most Read