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Politics: John Horgan decides to step down as BC Premier

John Horgan led his party for its second term in office in the fall of 2020 by capturing 57 of the 87 seats in the assembly.

Vancouver: British Columbia will have a new Premier this fall as the incumbent John Horgan has decided to step down after the ruling NDP party holds its leadership convention in the fall to choose his successor.

John Horgan led his party for its second term in office in the fall of 2020 by capturing 57 of the 87 seats in the assembly – the most the NDP had ever won in a provincial election and the first time the party had won a majority government since 1996 – made the announcement Tuesday, saying he had every intention to run for another term but decided he couldn’t continue after undergoing “rigorous” treatment for throat cancer within the past several months.

“My health is good, but my energy flags as the days go by,” Horgan, 62, said at a media conference in Vancouver.

“We came to the conclusion that I’m not able to make another six-year commitment to this job.”

Though he has been fully cured of cancer said he will resign after his party holds a leadership convention in the fall. He will, however, continue to serve as MLA for the riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca for the remainder of his term.

Speculation around the possibility of a mid-term resignation began last summer. His bout with throat cancer was his second with the disease, having survived bladder cancer in his 40s.

The resignation announcement followed the NDP cabinet meeting for a midterm retreat in Vancouver this week.

John Horgan told media persons that  it’s “tradition” for the politicians to discuss their plans for the future during the summit, but he’d already made his decision after talking it over with his wife, Ellie, during a week-long trip to the west coast of Vancouver Island earlier this month.

This  winter, John Horgan received 35 radiation treatments for throat cancer. The experience, he said, prompted him and his wife to reflect on how they’d like to spend the rest of their lives.

“The cancer diagnosis and treatment was rigorous … I wish I had more energy to do more, but I just don’t,” he said.

“My spouse and I just felt it was time,” he added, referring to Ellie as “the love of my life.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement Tuesday eulogising  Horgan for his over 17 years of public service.

“I have worked closely with Premier Horgan over the past five years to advance the issues that matter to British Columbians and all Canadians, including creating clean growth and good middle-class jobs,” read the statement.

“He will be missed at the First Ministers’ table. I wish him and his family the very best in the future.”

Horgan is the only two-term premier in the history of B.C.’s New Democratic party, having won his second term after calling a snap election during the first year of the pandemic in the fall of 2020.

With his decision, Horgan has become the first B.C. premier to leave office without being pushed out by election defeat, public scandal or pressure from their own party since former Premier Bill Bennett quit in 1986.

Prabhjot Singh
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