B.C. Premier Horgan announces he will leave office

After five years in office, John Horgan announced Tuesday afternoon that he plans to step down as premier of British Columbia and has asked his governing NDP party to hold a leadership convention later this year.

Speaking to reporters in Vancouverwhere he has attended a cabinet retreat, Horgan said he wanted to address speculation surrounding his future as prime minister.

The announcement comes amid the recent fight against cancer and a controversial Royal British Columbia Museum.

Horgan said that although he is cancer-free and his health is good, his energy “falters as the days go by.”

Recent conversations with his wife also caused him to reflect on what he wanted to do, he said.

“There has been endless speculation in the wake of my recent battle with cancer about what my plans would be. I want to put an end to the speculation so we can get back to what really matters, which is the issues before the British people,” Horgan said.

He will remain premier for the time being and says he has asked the B.C. NDP president to work with the party’s governing body to select a date in the fall for a leadership convention.

“It’s been the thrill of my life to be premier of British Columbia and I’ll be premier tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that,” he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Horgan on Twitter for his years of public service.

“From taking ambitious action on climate, to the affordability of child care, to the leadership you provided to keep people safe through COVID-19, I have always appreciated working with you. I wish you all the best, John.” Trudeau wrote.

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also thanked Horgan, saying the B.C. premier “has always worked for the people on the ground, putting their needs first.”

“It’s an honour to work with him and to call him my friend.” Singh said..

As chair of the Council of the Federation, a body made up of the premiers of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, Horgan said he plans to hold the federal government accountable for resolving the country’s public health crisis, i.e., the Canada Health Transfer provided to the provinces and territories for health care.

The next meeting of the council is scheduled for. July 11 and 12 in Victoria.

“The prime minister made a commitment to me that his team would be there to have that conversation and move forward, and I’m going to demand that he does that,” Horgan said during Tuesday’s press conference.

Horgan, 62, has been premier of British Columbia since 2017 and became leader of the B.C. NDP in 2014.

In November, he announced that he would be radiation treatment would begin after a cancerous tumor was detected in his throat. The prime minister had already been successfully treated for bladder cancer at the age of 40.

In January, Horgan said he had completed his recent cancer treatment after undergoing 35 rounds of radiation.

Back in May, Horgan said that would not rule out a third term. Also tested positive for for COVID-19 earlier this spring.

Last week, Horgan announced that the province would “go back to the drawing board” following a public outcry involving the Royal B.C. Museum.

The province had previously released thousands of pages of documents supporting its decision to replace the museum with approximately $800 million.

Since then, the project has been put on hold, but not without hurting his approval.

“We thought we had it figured out, but clearly we don’t,” Horgan said June 22.

Asked Tuesday if his announcement about the museum was related to his political future, Horgan said he only made the decision to make sure the project didn’t become a “laugh line.”

“So my motivation about the museum had no relation to my personal views, beyond the fact that I didn’t want it to become a political soccer and I think that was the right way to go, and the British people seem to agree with me,” he said.

With files from CTVNewsVancouver.ca senior reporter and producer Andrew Weichel, CTVNewsVancouver.ca reporter and producer Kendra Mangione, CTV News Vancouver multimedia journalist Bhinder Sajan and CTV News Channel senior political correspondent Mike Le Couteur.


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