Announcing a one-year-early provincial election on Monday, John Horgan’s workmanlike insincerity was so raw that veteran legislature scribes could hardly contain their indignation in the scathing commentary that followed. As Les Leyne put it this week, the reasons Horgan gave “were hollow from start to finish.”
Political misrepresentations aside, one scripted comment from the NDP leader jumped out as particularly crass and unhelpful – because it distorted the pandemic experience to fit his self-serving path-to-power timetable.
Horgan’s statement was: “We are not at the end of COVID-19; we’re at the beginning. This pandemic will be with us for a year or more and that’s why I believe we need to have an election now.”
At the beginning? Yes, we are at the beginning of an unnecessary and unwanted election campaign, but are we really at the beginning of the pandemic?
Didn’t Dr. Bonnie Henry, who actually knows something about these things, tell us on May 4 that B.C. was “at the end of the beginning of this pandemic” at that time?
May was a long time ago and March seems like an eternity.
The fact is, it’s been almost seven months since our world was hammered into the New Neurotic Normal, with massive job losses, business closures, whole sectors teetering on the brink of liquidation; previously unthinkable social and physical isolation and regimentation; hospitalizations and deaths; fear of sickness on an epic scale – and now we’re at the beginning?
In his Monday press conference, Horgan spoke repeatedly about the suffering and uncertainty British Columbians are living through and said he understands their pain. And then he turned around and belittled that suffering by telling them it’s only just begun – and that’s why we need an election now. How demoralizing it must be for some voters to hear that. Are they expected to take comfort in the knowledge that the handout daddy will be there for them through the terrible times ahead?
More than ever, B.C.ers need to regain a sense of optimism. They need leaders whose rhetoric isn’t designed to sap their confidence. Voters will be looking for these positive qualities. They’ll be listening to the former doctor and Rhodes Scholar who leads the Liberals and the newly minted Green Party leader who lived up to her end of the deal that John Horgan opportunistically broke. Perhaps they will hear something better than what the NDP is selling.
There is an election on after all, and that means anything can happen.