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

32228 Buffalo Drive, Mission
2020 Christmas light displays in Mission and Abbotsford

Local homes in both communities are all lit up for the holidays

Abbotsford's Jada Klein
Abbotsford’s Jada Klein releases debut EP

Fresh off FVMA win, Robert Bateman grad’s ‘Always, Forever’ album arrives online

Abbotsford Christian Middle School staff and students were asked in a Nov. 15 letter, to self-isolate until Nov. 24. (File photo)
Fraser Health lists 3 more Abbotsford schools with COVID-19 exposures from Nov. 18 to 23

ACS, MEI and Abbotsford Traditional Senior Secondary listed

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (File photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
Abbotsford care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker at his former law office. (News files)
Former Pitt Meadows mayor suspended from practising law for 14 months

Statement from John Becker says anxiety and depression played role

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism widespread

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
Carole James stays on to advise B.C. Premier John Horgan

Retired finance minister to earn a dollar a year

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Most Read