Premier-elect John Horgan broadly promised improvements to transit among other issues in the riding of Saanich North and the Islands, even after voters re-elected BC Green Adam Olsen as Member of the Legislative Assembly.
“I live in Langford, but I consider southern Vancouver Island to be my home and I’m very well aware of the challenges in Adam’s constituency and Lana (Popham)’s constituency (of Saanich South) and in Oak Bay-Gordon Head and even up the Island,” said Horgan in a conference call with reporters Sunday morning, when asked about specific improvements on issues such as transit. “I am going to continue to work to make sure that we are delivering the best services that we possibly can in a cost-effective manner.”
Ultimately, it does not represent the seat, said Horgan. “We are building a hospital in Dawson Creek and we did not win Dawson Creek. We are building a hospital in Fort St. James – we did not win Fort St. James,” he said. “These issues do not matter to me. What is needed and how quickly can we deliver it -that is how I am going to approach the next four years.”
The riding of Saanich North and the Islands has never elected a New Democrat since its creation in 1990, but the party proved competitive in 2013 and again in 2017, when Olsen first won the riding. With New Democrats dominating much of the region, the riding became a prize for the party and Horgan used the final days of the campaign to drop into the riding to boost local candidate Zeb King, who had campaigned in part on the premise that the riding would benefit from electing him to the government benches.
That calculation did not pay off as Olsen won the riding by more than 5,000 votes ahead of King and almost 7,000 votes ahead of BC Liberal Stephen Roberts in increasing his margin of victory from 2017, according to preliminary results. BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau also won her Vancouver Island riding by a considerable margin and the party picked up a seat on the provincial mainland in repeating their 2017 electoral performance in terms of seats. In other words, they will remain a force to be taken seriously in provincial politics for the foreseeable future, a point Horgan appeared to have recognized himself in sending out signals for future cooperation.
While he skirted a specific question about future forms of parliamentary cooperation, noting that the final numerical composition of the provincial legislature is still taking shape, he promised to work with every single MLA.
“Because I know how frustrating it was when I was an opposition member, when I brought forward good ideas and the needs of my community members, and often times, I was dismissed, because my neighbours didn’t vote the right away,” he said. “I will never, never govern that way. If people need help, I don’t care how they voted or where they lived. We are going to do the level best to help them.”
When later asked about the continuing presence of BC Greens on provincial political map and the strength of their ideas, Horgan said he does not care from the ideas come.
“If it makes sense, we are going to implement it. That’s how I will approach working with all members of the legislature and those who are not inside the legislature, quite frankly,” he said. “They are a whole bunch of views in the community and they need to be heard and I intend to listen.”
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