B.C. premier defends low profile during pandemic's second wave
VANCOUVER -- B.C. Premier John Horgan has made just a handful of public appearances in recent weeks, even as new records for COVID-19 infections, deaths and hospitalizations were being broken nearly daily.
The approach stands in contrast to the leaders of other provinces, some of whom have been the face of their governments’ pandemic responses.
On Wednesday, CTV News Vancouver asked Horgan why he was absent from Monday’s announcement by the provincial health officer that canceled Christmas as we know it, while other premiers have been the bearers of such bad news themselves, with one making headlines for his emotional statement as “the guy who’s stealing Christmas.”
"Because I believe the best people to address these issues are the professionals,” Horgan said in response. “That's been my position going back to March, and I think the progress and success we've had in British Columbia is a direct result of me not wanting to insert myself between (provincial health officer) Dr. (Bonnie) Henry and (Health) Minister (Adrian) Dix and the public that want to hear from them on the challenges we face collectively.”
The premier’s highlighting of the low infection numbers B.C. recorded in the early days of the pandemic and over much of the summer doesn’t reflect the current situation. For weeks, British Columbia has carried roughly double the number of active cases per capita that Ontario has had, and significantly more than Quebec. B.C. is still doing much better than the prairie provinces, which are instituting strict restrictions and lockdowns in an effort to control soaring infection rates.
Horgan went on to say he is regularly updated on the situation and point out he was at the briefing on vaccine planning and has been doing other pandemic-related work behind the scenes.
“I will be talking to the Prime Minister and other leaders across the country tomorrow to push the case that we need to focus on the end of this pandemic, we do that by not taking limelights, by not being there for the good news and the bad news but being there when I'm required and that's been the approach we've taken and to not a great deal of criticism,” the premier said. “I certainly am open to any criticism you want to level at me, or British Columbians want to level at me, but the vast majority of the people I engage with tell me how confident they are that our public health has been driven by Dr. Henry and Minister Dix, who's at his post daily for the whole day and much of the evening making sure British Columbians are safe."