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HomeBusinessDay 29: Horgan can’t avoid questions about breaking fixed election date law, Green agreement

Day 29: Horgan can’t avoid questions about breaking fixed election date law, Green agreement

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Bob Mackin

It is not going away.

The question about the propriety of Premier John Horgan’s snap election in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic state of emergency was predicted by Horgan’s inner circle to have a one-week shelf life.

Green leader Sonia Furstenau with West Vancouver-Sea-to-Sky candidate Jeremy Valeriote (Mackin)

It subsided in the middle of the campaign, but it is back again just days before Oct. 24 election day, driven by DemocracyWatch, which is going to B.C. Supreme Court to ask a judge to declare the election illegal.

The watchdog’s intent is not to cancel the election, but to prevent another Premier of B.C., or any other province, from ignoring fixed election date laws in order to call an unjustified snap election. Horgan did not seek a confidence vote before going to Lt. Gov. Janet Austin on Sept. 21 and he broke the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Greens.

DemocracyWatch co-founder Duff Conacher says Horgan’s action is more like an old dictator than a new democrat. Horgan has stuck with the same talking points, but never denied that he broke the NDP-amended law that set Oct. 16, 2021 as the date of the next election.

When Horgan was in North Vancouver, I asked if taxpayers, instead of the NDP, would be dinged with the cost to defend against the DemocracyWatch lawsuit.

“I don’t believe that this case is warranted,” Horgan said. “And I don’t believe that the cost will be significant. I’ll certainly take a look at that when it concludes, but it would be premature to talk about a case that’s not before the courts.”

BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau, at ta campaign stop in the Troller Ale House in Horseshoe Bay, said it is important that we limit the capacity for political parties to act this way.

“As DemocracyWatch is pointing out, what their hope is is that no government will do this again in the future,” Furstenau said. “They recognize that this election is underway, the choices were made by the NDP to contravene our agreement, the Confidence and Supply Agreement, and also to break the fixed election date legislation that they themselves amended and brought forward and passed in 2017.”

Would the Greens seek intervenor status?

“I think right now we’re very much focused on this election campaign, that would be a decision we would make after the election,” Furstenau said, standing beside West Vancouver-Sea-to-Sky candidate Jeremy Valeriote.

Meanwhile, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson was in Surrey at a farm and alleged the NDP designed the election during the pandemic to decrease turnout.

“They’re taking a very passive approach. In an election, everybody’s task is to encourage voting,” Wilkinson said.

NDP HQ at 34 W. 7th (Colliers)

The BC Liberals have complained to Elections BC, asking for an investigation into the NDP-controlled shell company that owns the party’s headquarters.

West 7th Avenue Property Society bought strata units in Chard Developments’ 34 W. 7th last year for $5.2 million. Directors include officials from BC Federation of Labour (Sussane Skidmore), BC Building Trades (Brynn Bourke), CUPE BC (Paul Faoro), Health Sciences Association (Jaime Matten) and the Broadbent Institute (Maria Dobrinkskaya).

The BC Liberals suggest the investigation could begin by looking at whether the mortgage from Community Savings Credit Union is a permissible loan or guarantee under the Election Act.

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