Historic NDP caucus sworn in ahead of fall B.C. legislature session
VICTORIA -- It was a virtual ceremony and the pandemic payoff for John Horgan’s snap election gamble.
On Tuesday afternoon, 57 MLAs, including Premier Horgan, were sworn in as members of the NDP caucus.
With the exception of Horgan, the other MLAs attended remotely, appearing on big screens for the swearing-in process.
It wasn’t just the fact that the ceremony happened remotely, or was the first during a pandemic that made it remarkable. The caucus was the largest in NDP history.
The NDP increased its seat count by 16 MLAs from the 41 it held prior to the October election.
The caucus, composed of 29 women, is the first governing caucus in Canadian history to have a majority of women.
“[It’s] the first time in Canadian history that the majority of a governing caucus is female,” new MLA Murray Rankin noted.
The first order of business for the caucus will be getting the promised pandemic relief cheques of $1,000 per family into the pockets of British Columbians by Christmas or early January.
Rankin said Tuesday he thinks the timeline is realistic, and suspects British Columbians will be happy whether they get their cheque in time for Christmas or a few days later.
Meanwhile, the B.C. Greens, reduced to two Vancouver Island MLAs – Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen – were sworn in on Monday.
And the BC Liberals, reduced to 28 MLAs, have a new interim leader, Shirley Bond, who was elected Monday.
On Tuesday, Bond said her party will rebuild and hold the new government accountable during the pandemic.
“We have a role to play,” she said in her first press conference as interim leader. “I hope we can do that in a respectful, but probing way. I think you’ll see that emerge in the days ahead.”
Next up for the government is swearing in its cabinet ministers on Thursday before the short fall session begins on Dec. 7.