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

(Phil Mclachlan - Western News file)
Emergency crews responding to overturned boat on Okanagan Lake

The boat, reported near Okanagan Lake Provincial Park, had two occupants

Sickle Point as seen from the air. (Kaleden Community Association - David Mai)
Efforts to save Sickle Point down to the wire

The riparian wetland is in the middle of a court-ordered sale

Paul Biro of Summerland has organized a special drive-by holiday lights event to take place on the evening of Friday, Nov. 27. (Contributed)
Extra COVID-19 safety protocols added to Summerland drive-by lights tour

Map is available by download; living nativity and Santa display eliminated

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Penticton law courts
Osoyoos child sex offender in court

Shawn Titus, 37, is charged with possession of child porn

Leighton Allen Labute faces charges of animal abuse and allegedly has a string of social media accounts depicting disturbing content.
Accused Kelowna hamster killer has trial date set for 2021

Leighton Labute’s three day trial is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2021

(File)
Christmas break extended for UBCO students

Move made to support mental health of students, accommodate ‘overload’ of work

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Gas prices take a hike in Vernon on Black Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Gas going up in North Okanagan

Prices jumping more than 10 cents at some stations

Kelowna firefighters on scene of an apartment fire on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
Firefighters tend to apartment blaze along Gordon Drive

Two dogs were found safe inside the unit

RCMP are investigating after a witness reported seeing two individuals breaking into and removing items from a mailbox in Armstrong Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Thieves break into, steal items from North Okanagan mailbox

Police investigating after items were taken from a community mailbox on Van Kleeck Avenue Thursday

Most Read