The former MLAs of Kootenay East and Columbia River-Revelstoke feel that a snap election shouldn’t have been called by the BC NDP on Monday.
After receiving approval from the Lieutenant Governor of B.C., Janet Austin, Premier John Horgan called a fall election, with voters heading to the polls on October 24th.
“British Columbians have worked hard to get on the right side of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are far from out of the woods. We are not at the end of the pandemic, we are at the beginning. This pandemic will be with us for a year or more, that’s why I believe we need to have an election now,” said Horgan on Monday during his announcement of the fall election. “We can either delay that decision, and create uncertainty and instability for the next 12 months, or we can do what I believe is always the right thing, and ask British Columbians what they think.”
However, the now-former MLAs of Kootenay East and Columbia River-Revelstoke, Tom Shypitka and Doug Clovechok both feel it is not the time to be holding a provincial election.
“We anticipated this could be a possibility, I just really didn’t think John Horgan would be as brazen and as arrogant as he’s been on calling an election during a pandemic and an economic shutdown but he’s chosen to do that,” Shypitka told MyEastKootenay.com. “It’s an unnecessary election.”
“There is no reason to have this election during the pandemic and the economy being where it is right now and the numbers of COVID-19 escalating,” added Clovechok. “This is incredibly opportunistic on behalf of Mr. Horgan and it’s disappointing that he’s put politics and his party before people.”
According to Shypitka, there has been great collaborative work done by the NDP, Liberals, and Greens during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he feels Horgan is trying to cash in on the positive response.
“Unfortunately he’s used that goodwill now to feather his own nest to bring upon a snap election during a time when I really don’t think it’s appropriate.”
Clovechok shared similar sentiments as Shypitka.
“People are not happy about this decision, it’s self-serving, it’s selfish, and I think British Columbians are going to speak loud and clear about their dissatisfaction.”
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The former Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA said he thinks a provincial election is an unnecessary risk.
“If it were up to me I certainly wouldn’t put my constituents in harm’s way, no matter what the situation. I’m not at the level where I could have made those decisions, I’m certainly not the leader of a party or the premier, but I know at the root of my concerns are my constituents and I don’t think it’s fair for them and I don’t think it’s safe for them.”
Shypitka strongly feels the dissolution of government for the election is wrong. The former Kootenay East MLA said there isn’t an active government for the next month, if not for longer, due to the transitionary period after the election and then approaching the holiday season.
“This is a time when government needs to be in place, not a time when government is being dissolved,” said Shypitka. “To see government shutdown during perhaps the most crucial time. We all know the second wave of any pandemic is more than the first wave, we’ve seen that historically – this is not the time for the government to shutdown.”
Besides the local BC Liberal candidates, the leader of the BC Greens, Sonia Furstenau, said Horgan is, “choosing pursuit of power over health and safety of British Columbians.”
“British Columbians continue to make sacrifices due to COVID 19 but Horgan is choosing his own political fortunes over serving our province,” said leader @SoniaFurstenau. Read more here: https://t.co/DSeZMY4HPi #bcpoli
— BC Green Party (@BCGreens) September 22, 2020
According to Shypitka and Clovechok, both will be seeking re-election in their respective ridings for the BC Liberals. As of publishing time, the BC NDP has chosen Nicole Cherlet to run in Columbia River-Revelstoke, while an NDP candidate is expected to be announced later this week for Kootenay East. The BC Greens have yet to announce local candidates in either riding.
Full candidate profiles on each party candidate will be published on MyEastKootenayNow.com as they are announced and finalized over the coming days.