An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE ONLY ONES WHO THINK there’s going to be an election in this province this fall seem to be the BC Liberals.
They’re spreading the alarm, trying to get their troops fired up and prepared. And, apparently, in an effort to discourage the New Democrats from becoming tempted.
An urgent-sounding email to supporters this week declared: “There’s no longer any doubt: John Horgan and the NDP are planning to trigger an election this fall — if the people of B.C. will let them get away with it.”
According to the email, the NDP is already booking advertising space. The alert encourages Liberal supporters to sign up to volunteer should an election campaign come.
It’s an interesting theory, and a highly unlikely one. While Horgan is playing around with it, there’s no indication he’s at all serious. He says fall would be an “opportunity” for an election, but so would next spring and a year from now.
Speculation that Horgan has an early election in mind is based on his government’s popularity and the BC Liberals failure, so far at least, to catch fire. An Angus Reid Institute poll released on Monday shows Horgan with a higher approval rating than any other premier in the country.
It might well be driven by the perception that the BC NDP has done a good job of handling the pandemic. Despite rising numbers of cases recently, British Columbians still have a lot of confidence in Dr. Bonnie Henry and, by extension, Horgan and his government.
But there’s no defensible reason for an election now, no crisis of government that would justify one. And an election at this stage of the pandemic would be logistically daunting, highly unpopular and even ethically questionable.
No, there will be no election in the immediate future, though the BC Liberals will continue to play the sky-is-falling game.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.