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Horgan’s decision to go early means he violates the written power-sharing agreement he signed with the B.C. Greens in 2017, in which he promised to wait until the next scheduled election set for Oct. 16, 2021. He also disregarded B.C.’s fixed election date law, though there is no penalty for doing so.
It’s a high-risk, high-reward, proposal by a premier whose government received widespread acclaim for its public health response to COVID-19 in the spring, but faces a worsening situation this fall.
Daily case numbers have shattered records in recent weeks, and more than 18 schools have already reported exposure cases in less than a month since students returned to classrooms. Public opinion remains divided over whether, given such circumstances, an early election is appropriate.
“The pros are definitely that he’s riding high in the polls,” said Hamish Telford, a political scientist at the University of the Fraser Valley. “The cons being, who knows how the pandemic situation evolves over the winter and how the school situation evolves.”
The risk is considerable that voters may turn on Horgan and punish him for sparking an unnecessary election during a crisis, added Telford.
However, New Democrats hope a snap vote will turn the party’s 41-seat minority government into at least a 44-seat majority, shaking off the need for any further Green co-operation and, perhaps, eliminating their former allies entirely by targeting the three Vancouver Island seats last won by the Greens.