Most signs point towards snap election, one that comes with a risk to the NDP
VICTORIA -- Although work still continues on the McKenzie Interchange, the province boasted Friday in a press release that the project is now “substantially complete.”
That was just one of a flurry of announcements from the government Friday that fanned the flames of election speculation.
Hamish Telford is a political science professor at the University of the Fraser Valley. He said the steady flow of announcements is just the latest sign Premier John Horgan is likely to call an early election.
“The signs of a snap election are now becoming overwhelming,” said Telford Friday.
By the end of the day Friday, the NDP government had sent out 23 emails to the media with announcements about funding and various projects, ranging from extending temporary patios for a year to health care and childcare programs.
All of that came on the heals of Thursday’s announcement about $1.5 billion of spending to jumpstart the economy.
That announcement, Telford said, looked a lot like an election platform.
“With a fancy document called ‘A Stronger B.C. for Everyone,’ which sounds like a campaign slogan if I’ve ever heard of one,” he said.
But despite the steady flow of signs indicating an election is imminent, there are also strong reasons for the government to pull back from the edge of an early election call, including B.C. teachers announcing Friday that they’re upset about safety and health in schools.
BC Teachers Federation president Terri Mooring said teachers are very upset and want more steps taken in schools, including better cleaning and access to masks.
She didn’t go as far as to suggest that job action was being considered, but the BCTF has applied to the B.C. Labour Relations Board for help with their concerns.
“We don’t see that we our students can wait,” said Mooring. “Every day that those preventative measures aren’t in place is a day that we’re concerned.”
And, of course, COVID-19 cases are a surging, with a single-day record for new cases set Thursday, and more high numbers in B.C. Friday.
Telford said many British Columbians might be upset if the government does call an election under the current circumstances.
“So, I think John Horgan might be entering into very perilous territory by calling an election that he really doesn’t need to call at this time,” he said.
Horgan said Thursday that he didn’t know yet if he’d call a snap election.
Elections BC is prepared if there is one, saying it will provide an extra day of advance voting, for a total of 7 days, and is prepared for a significant increase in the use of mail-in ballots.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also recently advised Elections BC that the limit of 50 people per gathering doesn’t apply to polling places.