Access to Premier John Horgan’s swearing-in ceremony at the University of Victoria auditorium was so restricted due to pandemic protocols, that even his wife wasn’t invited to attend.
A copy of the invitation list, obtained under freedom of information and posted below, shows Ellie Horgan was among the more than 1,100 people invited to watch the Nov. 26 event on Zoom. Her husband led the NDP to a 57-seat majority in the snap Oct. 24 election and flashed a Star Trek Vulcan salute on stage as he took the oath of office for the second time as premier.
The election was not required by law until October 2021, but Horgan gambled on a strong mail-in vote and weak performance by BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson to parlay his Green-supported minority government into a four-year majority mandate. Horgan’s celebration was dampened by the second wave of the pandemic, which coincided with the latter half of the campaign.
Horgan was joined for the ceremony by Attorney General David Eby. Lt. Gov. Janet Austin presided over the oath of office for the 20-member cabinet. She was accompanied by her secretary Jerymy Brownridge and Deputy Minister Bobbi Plecas. There were two audio-visual technicians, Richard Blais and Stephen Hargreaves, government photographer Don Craig and media pool cameraman Heron Hanuman. The event was carried on Hansard TV and on Zoom.
There were, however, four officials from the NDP provincial council: Rick Devereux, Talieh Samedi, Amy Miller and Briana Fougere. Except for Devereux, who is also the government’s director of events and corporate planning, the other three were listed as backstage attendees.
The rest of the attendees were invited to watch online, including ex-Prime Minister Kim Campbell and Sen. Larry Campbell, but not ex-Premier Gordon Campbell.
Campbell and his successor Christy Clark were both omitted. Ex-Premiers that were invited included Mike Harcourt, Glen Clark, Dan Miller, Ujjal Dosanjh and Bill Vander Zalm.
The Auditor General, Ombudsperson and other officers of the Legislature, senior military officers, Senators, Members of Parliament, mayors, diplomats, university chancellors, judges, police chiefs, clergy, First Nations chiefs and deputy ministers.
Invited to watch, but not attend, was Grand Chief Ed John. The former minister of children and family development was instrumental in the NDP’s adoption of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People in late 2018. Last July, John pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped a woman in 1974 in Prince George.
In 2017, when the NDP returned to power after a 16-year absence, almost 700 people were invited to the ceremony at Government House.
On the same afternoon, B.C. public health officials reported 887 new cases of the coronavirus and 7,899 active cases, including 294 people hospitalized. There had been 13 more deaths in the previous 24 hours, for a total 384.
On Sept. 21, the day Horgan called a snap election, officials reported 1,987 active cases and 227 dead.
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