Premier John Horgan fuelled rumours of an early election with comments he made during question period at a press availability on Wednesday.
In response to a question about honouring the Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) his government has with the BC Green Party, Horgan implied that changing circumstances involving COVID-19 override the deal.
“The vast majority of the elements of CASA have been realized,” Horgan said.
“Nowhere in that document will you see the word pandemic. The world we live in today is not the world of 2017.”
The CASA was signed on May 30, 2017 by representatives of the BC NDP Caucus and BC Green Caucus. It outlined a framework by which the NDP would form government with Green support under then-leader Andrew Weaver.
At the conclusion of the 2017 election the NDP held 41 seats, while the outgoing Liberals under former Premier Christy Clark took home 43 seats. Both parties were short of the 44 seats needed for a majority, while the Greens won three seats.
By signing the CASA, NDP-leader Horgan was able to seek the confidence of the legislative assembly and was asked by the Lieutenant Governor to form government on June 29, 2017.
With his most recent comments, however, Horgan seemed to suggest he would seek a majority government in the near future.
“I know that British Columbians want me to focus on 2020 and beyond rather than looking backward to a relationship I had with the then-leader of the Green Party and his colleagues,” Horgan said on Wednesday.
Just a week ago the Premier also teased an early election by suggesting that Elections BC was prepared to offer COVID-19 options to vote.
“There’s an election underway right now in New Brunswick, there’s an election upcoming in Saskatchewan, and Elections BC is prepared to provide a safe way to vote if that’s something that comes up,” Horgan said on September 3.
The BC Liberals blasted the Premier for his most recent comments, saying in a statement that the BC NDP was putting its party’s needs ahead of British Columbians.
“Today, John Horgan showed he is consumed by the fortunes of his party and not the people he serves.” said BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson.
“It’s time to stop doing this dance around a fall election.”
Horgan added in Wednesday’s presser that speculation on an early election would continue with or without his intervention.
“I know that it would help the speculation if I said something different, but I think the speculation is going just fine, apparently without me,” he said, adding, “You can parse my words.”