BC NDP Initiates Contest To Elect a Successor to Premier John Horgan

New leader to be elected by December 3 as Premier John Horgan intends to retire due to a recent stint with cancer

B.C.’s New Democratic Party (NDP) members are set to elect a new leader on Saturday, December 3, 2022. This follows Premier John Horgan’s announcement late last month that he will not seek a third term in the next provincial election in 2024.

The premier explained that he made the difficult decision to step down because of his latest bout with cancer. Horgan was diagnosed with cancer last November, months after discovering a lump in his throat, and underwent 35 rounds of radiation before completing his treatment in January. The 62-year-old, who had a previous battle with bladder cancer in 2008, said he’s had less energy since returning to work.

“My health is good, but my energy flags as the days go by,” the premier said. The premier is planning to use his retirement to reflect and focus on “a little more playing and a lot less working”

In a statement from the premier’s office, Horgan said the province has faced “unprecedented challenges” that were never imagined when his government was sworn in on July 18, 2017.

The premier said he is proud of the NDP’s progress over the past five years. “From Day 1, we’ve made different choices. We put people first. We rolled up our sleeves and took on the biggest problems – problems that were years in the making,” Horgan said.

“For his last seventeen years as an MLA and five as Premier, John Horgan has shown what is possible when elected officials put people first and fight hard to make life better for everyone,” said Aaron Sumexheltza, President of the BC NDP. “I look forward to seeing the candidates who put their names forward for this important job representing New Democrat values and serving the great people of British Columbia.”

The BC NDP’s elected governing bodies have ratified leadership election rules and have officially set the leadership campaign period that began on July 17. The voting period will start as early as Sunday, November 13, with the results and new leader announced on Saturday, December 3. The deadline to join the BC NDP as a member and be eligible to vote in the leadership election is Sunday, September 4.

There was speculation regarding Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon being a favourite to take over as premier. However, that conjecture was put to rest on July 6, when the minister withdrew his name and endorsed Attorney General David Eby instead.

B.C. political strategists initially expected a two-person race between Kahlon and Eby and; although Eby has yet to mount a campaign officially, many consider him to be the front-runner.

Several MLAs have already endorsed Eby; however, he could face opposition from Finance Minister Selina Robinson and Land Minister Josie Osborne.

To oversee the election process, the BC NDP has appointed former cabinet minister Elizabeth Cull as its Chief Electoral Officer. To run for leadership, a candidate must be a member of the Party in good standing for at least 90 days before the leadership election date; eligible to stand for election to the B.C. Legislature; and demonstrate a genuine interest in seeking leadership and serving as the leader of the B.C. New Democratic Party. Candidates must submit their application and the initial entrance fee of $15,000 by Tuesday, October 4.

Image Credit: Social Media (Twitter) of Premier John Horgan