John Horgan began the first full day of the 2020 Snap, Pandemic State of Emergency Election campaign (and the first day of fall) in North Vancouver’s Waterfront Park.
He couldn’t avoid the questions about why now for an election. I even asked whether the NDP would disclose if a team member tested positive for coronavirus or if the campaign would be suspended if a candidate, volunteer or worker is hospitalized.
“We’ll conduct our campaign following public health guidelines, that’s the commitment we’ve made to British Columbians and I’m going to maintain that from now until election day,” Horgan said. “I can’t predict the health outcomes for people on my campaign or people across B.C.”
To his left was Bowinn Ma, the incumbent whose BC Liberal challenger was revealed on Tuesday: geoscientist ‘Lyn Anglin.
Horgan’s first foray on the mainland was to 2017-elected Ma’s swing riding. Expect to see him make live appearances to support Bob D’Eith (Maple Ridge-Mission), Lisa Beare (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows), Ravi Kahlon (Delta North), George Heyman (Vancouver-Fairview), Jinny Sims (Surrey-Panorama) and Ronna-Rae Leonard (Courtenay). All, except Heyman, upset BC Liberals in 2017. Heyman did that in 2013.
For the first time in four months, Horgan had a live “audience.” Reporters were allowed to attend his North Vancouver stop. Since late spring, under a deal with the Press Gallery, government news conferences have been conducted on a phone-in only basis. The Press Gallery agreed not to attend any events at the Legislature and the ban carried-over to events on the mainland.
The policy was under the guise of public health, but the Waterfront Park event was conducted outside, with physical distancing, masking and even an NDP “roadie” who wiped down the microphone and stand with rubbing alcohol in-between reporters.
Horgan’s campaign bus did not have a decorative wrap. The bus is supplied by Victoria’s Wilson’s Transportation, which made national headlines 51 weeks ago when one of its motor coaches scraped the underside of a wing on one of Justin Trudeau’s two campaign planes at Victoria International Airport. The Horgan bus was escorted by two black RCMP vans.
Trevor Halford was rubber-stamped as the BC Liberal candidate in South Surrey-White Rock, aiming to succeed the resigned Tracy Redies.
Notary and former city councillor Megan Knight was among those that expressed interest. “Megan’s application was slow walked and delayed,” Tweeted Debbie Nancy Ward, Redies’s former aide. “A total of nine applicants were received starting August 26 but the BCL couldn’t process any but Trevor’s, curious. You think he was promised the riding by someone?”
Meanwhile, former BC Greens leader and ex-NDP provincial council member Stuart Parker is now the cancelled leader of the B.C. Ecosocialists (“Further left than the NDP, greener than the Greens”).
In a Facebook rant, he threw his support behind J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author who has been critical of transgender activists. The party announced Parker’s resignation late Sept. 22: “The B.C. Ecosocialist Party affirms that Trans Rights are Human Rights.”
Oct. 24 is general election day, but the winner may not be known during that weekend. Or even the next weekend. As many as 35% of ballots may be cast by mail and the deadline for Elections BC to receive is 8 p.m. on Oct. 24.
The final count, which involves absentee ballots, begins Nov. 6. Ten days later is return day, but that may be delayed if the final count takes longer.
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