BREAKING — 1:31 p.m. PT, June 28, 2022:
B.C. Premier John Horgan will be stepping down from office before the next provincial election. The two-term NDP premier made the announcement in Vancouver on Tuesday.CBC News
The article below the separator line was published here on May 16. A few reliable sources had told me that John Horgan’s political career would soon be ending. The decision seems mostly related to the Premier’s health but there is also a growing divide between party leadership and BC NDP members who did not join to support a centre-right movement.
The open secret of impending change has now been revealed to all.
Rumours suggest BCNDP insiders are manoeuvring to choose John Horgan’s successor.
In May, CTV reported:
The NDP premier recently completed treatment for his second bout with cancer, and last month tested positive for COVID-19.
“I have to confess, my energy has been flagging,” Horgan, 62, told CTV News in an interview Wednesday.
Clues to John Horgan’s replacement are found by paying attention to the frequency of names attached to government-friendly announcements. Current frontrunners are David Eby and Ravi Kahlon, with the latter apparently preferred by Horgan’s immediate circle. Both prospects are about 20 years younger than British Columbia’s ailing Premier.
John Horgan will leave with a record of maintaining popularity despite difficult times. Horgan has been good at charming casual followers into believing he reflects their own aspirations. His Irish ancestors gave him a gift of eloquence and persuasiveness. Unfortunately, they neglected to include sincerity, a quality needed to sustain admiration over time.
John Horgan’s five years as Premier will cap a 30-year career in provincial politics. While current opinion polls show satisfaction with his leadership, history will discount the blarney and examine the achievements.
We will forget the NDP’s superficial and performative acknowledgments of the need to fight climate change and Horgan’s talk about respecting Indigenous rights and unceded traditional territories. We will remember the BC NDP government approved and financed abusive attacks on First Nations people who hindered construction of a pipeline to transport fossil fuels across their lands.
We will remember that Premier John Horgan quickly abandoned his pre-election promises to secure a fair share of natural resource values for the public, to reform fossil fuel subsidies, and to be guided by science and environmental protections when regulating fracking and methane emissions from production, transport and processing of natural gas.
We will remember PowerBC, a potent and practical program discarded after Horgan sat in the Premier’s chair. It was “designed to reduce electricity demand, generate new energy responsibly and sustainably, and create lasting good jobs in energy efficiency and generation.”
We will remember John Horgan’s NDP promised to strengthen Freedom of Information legislation and enhance public accountability, and then acted to limit access to government records and to reduce what has been called “the hallmark of modern democratic governance.”
We will remember that BCNDP promised in 2017 to eliminate partisan advertising paid for by taxpayers, and afterward embraced its extensive use.
We will remember that while citizens were troubled by COVID-19 effects, unaffordable housing, visible poverty, inadequate healthcare, deadly street drugs, destruction of ancient forests, declining viability of agriculture, rampant inflation and other problems, John Horgan rushed out a commitment for an unshaped but hugely expensive new provincial museum.
I surmise John Horgan sees the museum as a crowning jewel and decided that ready or not, an announcement had to be made before his departure.
The not yet designed museum was promised a provincial investment of $789 million. Observers wonder how the NDP selected a very specific sum that is 20x the Alberta government’s commitment to rebuild Calgary’s Glenbow Museum. The Victoria project is a concept so early in development that not a single architectural rendering accompanied the announcement. A legitimate construction budget does not exist.
We can wonder if this is just one more example in a worldwide trend of careless politicians deciding to spend more and more on ever bigger projects.
Renowned expert Bent Flyvbjerg defined an iron law for such schemes:
Megaprojects: over budget, over time, over and over again.
John Horgan and his colleagues are sacrificing the future of our children and grandchildren. In addition to being de facto climate change deniers, their love of megaprojects is taking provincial debt totals to frightening levels. The interest rate risks faced by the BC government are immense now and growing rapidly.
Instead of effectively serving the long term common good, John Horgan’s government is profligate, growing the financial burden on future generations. That will be remembered by history.