Premier-elect John Horgan said he will wait for the final count in Saturday’s provincial election before recalling the B.C. Legislature to get back to work in Victoria.
The BC NDP called a press conference Sunday (Oct. 25) morning to speak about the party’s plans for the next four years. While half a million mail-in ballots are yet to be counted, preliminary election night results give the NDP a majority government with 55 seats, a 14-seat gain over 2017. The BC Liberals received 29 seats, a 12-seat drop since 2017, while the BC Greens won three, same as in 2017.
Horgan, whose party won in multiple longtime BC Liberal strongholds such as Richmond and parts of the Fraser Valley, said he credited focusing on issues that mattered to all British Columbians, not just traditional NDP voters.
“For three-and-a-half years we focused on the needs of all British Columbians,” Horgan said. “I think the reason our message resonated in Richmond, resonated in Langley is that we are talking about things that matter to those families; seniors care, child care, education, health care, transportation.”
Horgan said he wasn’t worried about traditional right of centre voters coming over to the NDP in this election.
“I believe that New Democrate values are mainstream values,” he said.
But those values did not always resonate outside of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, where ridings such as Skeena, Fraser-Nicola and Columbia River-Revelstoke went to the BC Liberals.
“I would have liked to see better results in rural British Columbia. I’m going to have to do some more work,” Horgan acknowledged. “Having a majority government will allow me to get out of Victoria.”
The NDP’s prior minority government, which held onto power and passed legislation only with Green support, required every single vote in order to move forward with its priorities.
Horgan said forestry was among the issues he will tackle for rural B.C. communities.
One key $1.4-billion election promise, the $1,000 direct deposit to households making up to $125,000 (and individuals making up to $62,500), won’t be coming just yet.
Horgan said he’s “hopeful we’ll be able to get back into the legislature but I don’t want to make a promise I might not be able to keep.”
In both 2018 and 2019, the B.C. Legislature did sit in November before breaking for the holiday season. This year, Horgan said there were “a number of issues,” stemming from both pre-election matters and those that came up during the campaign, that had to be tackled as well.
Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until mid-November, after those mail-in ballots are counted beginning Nov. 6.
Across B.C., a total of 497,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday (Oct. 23). There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.