British Columbians will be heading to the polls a lot sooner than expected as Premier John Horgan calls an election.
After weeks of rumours and gossip, Horgan has asked Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin for approval for the BC Legislature to be dissolved. With approval from Austin, the new election day is October 24, 2020—one year ahead of the previously scheduled election on October 16, 2021.
This will be the first time in history that a BC election will take place during a pandemic, and the second time since World War II that an election will take place during a state of emergency.
Elections BC says on their website that during the COVID-19 pandemic they “are actively planning and consulting with stakeholders to ensure our next election is safe and accessible for voters, election workers, and political participants.”
Horgan said in a press conference held early on the morning of September 21 that during the next 32 days, Carole James will be overseeing as deputy premier while election campaigns unfold. Also, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will be staying in her position.
After just over three years in his political position, Horgan is going into this election with his party up in polls. In a recent poll done by the Angus Reid Institute, they found that 48 percent of British Columbians were in favour of the New Democratic Party, with the BC Liberals following behind with 29 percent and the BC Greens with 14 percent.
Horgan will now be going up against BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson and the newly chosen BC Green leader, Sonia Furstenau.
Just 15 minutes before Horgan’s announcement, Furstenau tweeted “I met with [John Horgan] on Friday and told him he had a stable government. This election is completely unnecessary. The NDP has chosen the pursuit of power over the health and safety of British Columbians.”
As Horgan seeks re-election, many of the long run MLAs have said they would not. NDP cabinet ministers Carole James, Doug Donaldson, Claire Trevena, Judy Darcy, Michelle Mungall, Shane Simpson, and Scott Fraser have announced they will not be running for re-election.
Elections BC said on their website that voters will be able to request a vote-by-mail package for this year’s election.