B.C. Premier John Horgan’s July 18, 2017 cabinet swearing-in ceremony at Government House featured Songhees dancers. COVID-19 precautions will require a much simpler affair. (Arnold Lim/Black Press Media)

B.C. Premier John Horgan’s July 18, 2017 cabinet swearing-in ceremony at Government House featured Songhees dancers. COVID-19 precautions will require a much simpler affair. (Arnold Lim/Black Press Media)

Many new MLAs may delay B.C. legislature’s return to after Christmas

Premier John Horgan wants vote to approve COVID-19 payments

A big crop of new, mostly NDP MLAs and a spiking COVID-19 infection rate make it questionable whether B.C. Premier John Horgan can call the legislature into session before the end of 2020 to deliver on one of his key campaign promises.

“We do hope to bring the legislature back before Christmas, but with the increasing cases in the past ten days or so, that has challenged our ability to bring people together in Victoria for swearing in,” Horgan told reporters Oct. 9. With 21 new government MLAs and five opposition newcomers, swearing in by Lt. Governor Janet Austin and interviews for cabinet appointments have to be finished first.

Asked about his campaign promise to send out another round of pandemic payments, $1,000 per household or $500 to individuals, Horgan kept his option open to do the $1.4 billion expenditure by cabinet order. With a 57-seat majority after a record counting of mail-in ballots was completed, the legislature vote would be a formality.

“My first choice is to recall the legislature, get this business done and passed for people, and then move on,” Horgan said.

RELATED: B.C. legislature approves spending with only 10 MLAs

RELATED: NDP takes Vernon-Monashee for first time since 1980s

Newly elected NDP MLAs include Pam Alexis in Abbotsford-Mission, who edged out incumbent B.C. Liberal Simon Gibson. Roly Russell replaces retired B.C. Liberal Linda Larson in Boundary-Similkameen, and Harwinder Sandhu took Vernon-Monashee from B.C. Liberal Eric Foster.

The NDP’s unexpected Chilliwack sweep includes Kelli Paddon, who defeated independent Laurie Throness in Chilliwack-Kent after he resigned from the B.C. Liberal Party over his remarks about birth control. Dan Coulter takes over for incumbent B.C. Liberal John Martin in Chilliwack.

Another upset was Langley, where Andrew Mercier defeated B.C. Liberal veteran Mary Polak, and the NDP’s Megan Dykeman took the seat long held by retired B.C. Liberal Rich Coleman. B.C. Liberal incumbent Marvin Hunt lost to NDP newcomer Mike Starchuk in Surrey-Cloverdale.

New B.C. Liberal MLAs include Bruce Banman in Abbotsford South, replacing retired B.C. legislature speaker Darryl Plecas, Lorne Doerkson replacing retired political veteran Donna Barnett in Cariboo-Chilcotin, and Renee Merrifield, elected in Kelowna Mission after the retirement of former forests minister Steve Thomson. Trevor Halford held Surrey-White Rock for the B.C. Liberals after the retirement of one-term MLA Tracy Redies, and Karin Kirkpatrick replaced six-term B.C. Liberal Ralph Sultan in West Vancouver-Capilano.

Former NDP MP Fin Donnelly defeated first-term B.C. Liberal Joan Isaacs in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, and former Tofino mayor Josie Osborne held Mid Island-Pacific Rim for the NDP after the retirement of another former Tofino mayor, Scott Fraser.

Brittny Anderson held Nelson-Creston for the NDP after the retirement of Michelle Mungall, and Jennifer Whiteside replaced the retired Judy Darcy in the NDP stronghold of New Westminster. Michele Babchuk is the MLA-elect for North Island after the retirement of Claire Trevena, and Susie Chant took North Vancouver-Seymour for the NDP from B.C. Liberal Jane Thornthwaite.

Former NDP MP Murray Rankin replaces Andrew Weaver in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, reducing the B.C. Green Party to two MLAs, pending a judicial recount in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky where Green Jeremy Valeriote lost to B.C. Liberal incumbent Jordan Sturdy by 41 votes.

Former MP Nathan Cullen held Stikine for the NDP after the retirement of Doug Donaldson, and the NDP’s Adam Walker defeated two-term MLA Michelle Stilwell in Parksville-Qualicum, leaving no B.C. Liberals on Vancouver Island.

In close wins for the NDP in Lower Mainland seats, Aman Singh took Richmond-Queensborough from one-term B.C. Liberal Jas Johal, and Henry Yao defeated B.C. Liberal Alexa Loo in Richmond South Centre. Former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan was defeated by NDP newcomer Brenda Bailey in Vancouver-False Creek, and Niki Sharma held Vancouver-Hastings for the NDP after the retirement of Shane Simpson.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 53 gathered at the Duncan Cenotaph on April 9 to commemorate the First World War Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley veterans remember Battle of Vimy Ridge

Members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 53 gather at Duncan Cenotaph

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num signs installed in downtown Duncan

Project a partnership between City of Duncan, DDBIA and Cowichan Tribes

Crofton Fire Department members on the scene of Twin Gables fire in February of 2020. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Citizens’ group calls for action at Crofton’s Twin Gables Motel

Crofton waterfront site called an eyesore and a nuisance property

North Cowichan is looking for public input through a survey as it updates its Master Transportation Plan. (File photo)
North Cowichan looking for public input on transportation

Online survey to be held until April 22

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

(Amandalina Letterio - Capital News)
Kelowna demonstrators show support for Vancouver Island logging activists

Two Kelowna men stood atop a pedestrian bridge on Harvey Avenue to raise awareness about old-growth forests

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Homicide investigators who asked not to be identified put up signs Wednesday, April 14, along the Nanaimo Parkway in the area where a body was found March 31. RCMP are asking for witnesses or dash cam footage as the suspicious death has now been ruled a homicide. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Suspicious death along the highway in Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

RCMP identify victim as Randell Charles Thomas, repeat call for any information related to the case

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
WATCH: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among the encouraged ventilation measures

(Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Most Read