John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, and will head back to the legislature at premier following the Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020 election. (File-Black Press)

Editorial: Majority government doesn’t mean smooth sailing as pandemic presents big challenges

Even with a majority, the NDP has a difficult road ahead.

Polls are not always the best way to tell what the future will hold, but in the case of the British Columbia provincial election on Saturday, Oct. 24, they were pretty accurate in foretelling the result.

We went into election night expecting an NDP majority government, and that’s what the vote count delivered. While there are a number of ridings that are still too close to call and will depend on the vote tally from the mail-in ballots, which were used in unprecedented numbers by B.C. voters due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is certain that the NDP will take power.

Immediately following the snap election call there was some speculation that calling the election a year before it was necessary, and during a pandemic at that, could cause voters to turn on the NDP, led by John Horgan. But the decision turned out to be a savvy political move on Horgan’s part, turning his minority government position, bolstered by the Greens, including Cowichan Valley MLA and now Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau, into a commanding majority.

So what happens now?

Even with a majority, the NDP has a difficult road ahead. We are in the middle of a pandemic, the true cost of which we are likely only now beginning to see. While case numbers climb, the first wave of federal government programs and money are starting to taper off, and people’s jobs and businesses are becoming permanent casualties. We expect things to get worse on this front before they get better. We will need a provincial government that has a plan to help people through this. At the same time we need a government that will address the cracks in our services and communities that the pandemic has exposed, such as problems with seniors care that have left our elderly so vulnerable.

The NDP does not now need to collaborate with anyone to implement their agenda, but we hope they will. Consulting with the Greens and the Liberals can bring about policy decisions that help as many people in the province as possible, regardless of political stripe. Government that encompasses ideas from many different perspectives should be the highest goal.

On environment and climate change, for example, a subject that is of great interest in the Cowichan Valley, where Furstenau was re-elected, the NDP can learn from the Greens.

In Cowichan, we will be looking forward to our new hospital, Cowichan Secondary School, and supportive housing to help address homelessness and the opioid crisis that has been so hard on our urban areas.

The unprecedented challenges we face are also unprecedented opportunities to make real change.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020Editorials