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Snap-election completely unnecessary: Prince George BC Liberal candidates Bond, Morris

John Horgan made the call yesterday (Sept. 21) amid COVID-19
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BC Liberal Prince George - Valemount candidate Shirley Bond and Prince George - Mackenzie BC Liberal candidate Mike Morris. (photos via Jess Fedigan)

Two Prince George candidates running for the snap-election, called yesterday (Sept. 21), say the move by John Horgan was completely unnecessary. 

BC Liberal Party candidates for Prince George-Valemount, Shirley Bond, and Prince George-Mackenzie, Mike Morris, were both displeased at the decision to call an early election during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as case numbers and hospitalizations are surging throughout the province, especially in the north. 

"That's when we had confirmation [when Horgan announced the decision]," Morris told PrinceGeorgeMatters.

"Of course, one would have to be pretty deaf and blind not to have seen the signals that were coming down the pipe. I was hoping though that Horgan would change his mind."

As numerous residents and constituents in all ridings throughout B.C. have notably expressed, many believe this is not the time to hold an election, slated for Oct. 24, while cases continue to rise.

Horgan had originally promised the Greens he wouldn't call a snap-election and would wait until October of 2021.

Morris said he's heard from many constituents in his riding feeling the election is not needed right now nor do they want it. 

"We're in the middle of a provincial health emergency and the pandemic is not going away anywhere soon and the last thing we need is an election to expose more people to other people in the province here so I think he should have held off, scheduled the election for October of next year and that would have been a perfect time to hold it.

"There's no good reason for it. The only reason is political and political for Horgan and the NDP only. They're riding high in the polls and they feel they can win a majority, they don't need the support of the Greens anymore and they can just go ahead and form a majority government. That's not keeping the best interests of British Columbians at heart, it's solely to satisfy the NDP." 

Morris also calls the recovery plan the government had revealed last week was a campaign announcement and not a true funding announcement to help those struggling in the province.

A number of provincial funding and other announcements also came in the days leading up to Monday's decision. 

"This is unacceptable and is actually delaying the recovery plan for British Columbia," he said.

Prince George-Valemount candidate Shirley Bond, who has held the riding's seat since 2006, echoed similar comments. 

"I think most British Columbians are disappointed that John Horgan chose to call a snap election during a pandemic," she also told PrinceGeorgeMatters. 

"He had a full year left to govern and now during one of the most difficult times in our province’s history we are going to the polls." 

Bond also signaled to the agreement Horgan had signed with the Greens during the 2017 election, with Andrew Weaver as party leader at the time. 

"John Horgan got to be Premier of the province because he signed an agreement with the Green Party. His decision to call an election and break the promise he made to them speaks to the political motives he has in calling the election now. He is also ignoring fixed election date legislation in order to try and secure a majority government."

Horgan would not have been able to form the government without the Greens agreeing to join the NDP in the legislature.

The Greens were also trying to be swayed by the BC Liberals to form a minority government with them.

They had been in power for the past 16 years before the 2017 election, which saw Christy Clark ousted as premier and eventually as her party's leader. 

Clark was premier from 2011 to 2017. 

"After the Green Party supported the NDP continuously, John Horgan abruptly ended the agreement that made him Premier in the first place," Bond added. 

"That should speak volumes about his motives for calling an election at a time like this."

Bond acknowledged that campaigning during a pandemic's time will be very different from previous years, saying she'll approach the election as she has done since 2006.

She also noted it will be the first time without her husband Bill, who passed away earlier in the summer

"Every election is unique but campaigning during a pandemic adds a whole new level of complexity. I will approach this election as every other one, with a great deal of hard work in order to earn the votes of my constituents. It will also be my first campaign of any sort without Billy by my side and I know that will be very difficult from a personal perspective."

BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson also shared his frustrations and displeasure with Horgan and the BC NDP, saying the election call is "just plain wrong."

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