He’s logging more miles across the province than he ever thought he would, he’s feeling just a bit exhausted and his voice is threatening to quit on him but his spirit is rising to the challenge.
John Horgan, New Democrat MLA for Juan de Fuca is on the campaign trail. On Thursday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, Horgan was in Prince George for a couple of media interviews and a meeting with the NDP faithful.
“Thirty-one days to go,” said Horgan in regard to the NDP leadership vote on April 17. “I’m happy to count them down.”
For Horgan the trail to the top political seat in the NDP party and perhaps the province started in January.
“It’s been a long trek for me to a whole host of different communities. It feels pretty positive,” he said by phone from Prince George.
He said he was doing what he could to revitalize the NDP by being direct, pragmatic and never making negative comments about his opponents. He said people were liking what he had to say.
The toughest part of being away from his home and constituency is keeping his energy level up. He makes lots of speeches and talks to scores of people.
“I have been talking all day every day. And people used to say I couldn’t say ‘hi’ in five minutes,” he said jokingly. “It’s been a challenge to be brief in some situations.”
Horgan is doing what every politician does who wants to get votes, he is gathering support from high profile NDPers. So far, and with more to come in the next few days, he has; Harry Lali, Maurine Karagianis, Scott Fraser, Kathy Corrigan, Jean Crowder, Bill Routley and Chief Gordon Planes to name just some who favour Horgan.
“It’s really been building, I’m very encouraged.” He didn’t fail to mention his team and the great work they were doing on his behalf.
He said he is paying attention to what is going on in the Juan de Fuca area and is in touch with people by telephone.
He hasn’t gone on any bus rides lately but he did mention an interesting ride-share he took from Nelson with three 20-something snowboarders in a 1985 Blazer. He said their focus was snowboarding but they also had lots of political ideas and what was important for their generation.
“It was a real fun day.”
Horgan would like to see the province take some responsibility for the sale of TFL 25 and the repercussions of that decision. He would like to see the province purchase land for a buffer along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail and park. The price tag would be high, close to $6 million so he doesn’t see that happening.
“The province could fix the mistake it made. We’re going to be living with this (protest) with every development that comes forward,” he said.
He said the Pacheedaht First Nation was in favour of the development proposed by Ender Ilkay because it would provide an opportunity for economic development. He also stated he was there for regional director Mike Hicks, if needed.
The forest tenure and logging opportunity afforded to the Pacheedaht is a hopeful scenario he said. He is pleased the band found an accommodating partner and he is interested in how things unfold.
“The fact that the Pacheedaht have an economic opportunity is a positive thing.”
From the road he said, “I miss home, I have to tell you I’m very comfortable that I made the right choice, I’m having a good time and I’m learning a lot. If I’m successful this will be very, very good.”
All-candidates meetings are being held from Qualicum to Terrace and most places in between.
A leadership all-candidates forum will be held in Victoria on March 31 from 6:30-9 p.m. at SJ Willis School at 923 Topaz Avenue. Others are planned across the Island in the next couple of weeks. For dates, places and times, go to horganforbc.com. The website is also the place to see what John Horgan stands for, his ideas and his history as MLA for Juan de Fuca.