Monday, September 21, 2020

"BC Premier John Horgan should absolutely call an election!"

BC Premier John Horgan & Bill Tieleman at swearing in ceremony in 2017.

Why BC NDP Premier John Horgan was absolutely right to call a BC election for Saturday October 24!

By Bill Tieleman  

[These are comments I made to The Tyee before BC NDP Premier John Horgan announced his decision to call a provincial election on Monday for Saturday October 24.  I am very pleased that the Premier has asked British Columbians for a mandate to continue to govern.  Others The Tyee interviewed didn't all agree with me!  See their full article here.]

Premier John Horgan should absolutely call an election - because with COVID-19 creating both an unprecedented health and economic crisis, British Columbians deserve to have a government with a strong mandate to implement its plans.  

It’s up to voters to decide whether it should be the BC NDP, the BC Liberals or the BC Greens in charge - whenever an election is called, it’s voters who decide, not politicians or parties. 

The BC NDP government can and will be judged on their response to this devastating pandemic;  the other parties will put forward their criticisms and plans and British Columbians will democratically choose which is better.

The election will be conducted safely, with minimal in person contact, few public events and socially distanced voting.  BC has much successful experience with binding mail referenda - my involvement with both the 2018 Proportional Representation vote and the Harmonized Sales Tax ballot showed me that mail voting is secure, with good participation and lower costs than in person polling stations on a single day.  It’s for those reasons that Washington state and other jurisdictions conduct all their ballots by mail.

This election will Also be a referendum Dash on which party I can best deal with COVID-19 and its aftermath. That place is the BC NDP in a good position thanks to Health Minister Adrian Dix putting his faith in medical science and due to Premier John Horgan’s strong leadership. 

BC Liberal opposition leader Andrew Wilkinson faces a difficult challenge overcoming some of his early leadership mistakes and lack of public or media attention to his party.  After 16 years in power, the BC Liberals seem to have run out of innovative ideas but an election is their best opportunity to put forward a new vision. 

Internal differences are also a significant factor, with the possibility of a post election political divorce between the federal Conservative and federal Liberal wings of the party.

The BC Greens have even more difficulties than the BC Liberals with the loss of former leader Andrew Weaver and his ongoing criticism of his former party, which is now led by Sonia Furstenau.  Weaver’s endorsement of John Horgan continuing as premier adds significantly to their woes.

All in all this promises to be one of the most unusual elections British Columbia has ever seen, with the results potentially determining the political futures of all parties for the next decade.

Bill Tieleman has served as Communications Director in the office of former BC NDP Premier Glen Clark and has won four consecutive binding provincial referenda, serving as President of NO BC Proportional Representation in the 2018 referendum, President of NO BC STV in the 2009 and 2005 referenda and as Strategist for NO BC HST in the 2011 referendum. He has also worked on many winning provincial, federal and municipal campaigns, nominations and leadership campaigns.