B.C. premier has growth in throat, undergoing surgery this week
B.C.'s premier says he has a growth in his throat that will require biopsy surgery this week.
John Horgan made the announcement during a last-minute news conference Thursday morning, saying he would be in surgery on Friday.
He said doctors were investigating a benign growth in his neck when the lump was discovered.
The surgery will "reveal what exactly we're dealing with," Horgan said, adding, "You're not supposed to have growths in your throat. That's the first order of business."
He said he's been told it appears the growth is treatable. When pathology information is available, he will also get details on a course of treatment.
It's not Horgan's first brush with cancer. He underwent surgery and treatment for bladder cancer in 2008, and was later declared cancer-free.
Additionally, his brother, Pat, died of cancer in 2018.
But Horgan is not planning to step down as premier, he said.
"I have every intention of carrying on. There is a lot of work to do," Horgan said.
Mike Farnworth, B.C.'s solicitor general, was appointed the province's deputy premier, and will step in if Horgan is temporarily unavailable due to treatment.
Horgan said he hadn't appointed anyone to the role since former deputy premier Carole James opted not to run for re-election.
He said this felt like "an appropriate time to tap Mike on the shoulder and say, 'Hey man, I might need your help.'"
He described Farnworth as "the most experienced member in the legislature," and called the appointment a tribute to his service and a comfort to the public.
When asked whether he was worried this would have an impact on his ability to complete his term, the premier joked, "I'm worried that it might have an impact on my ability to talk in the short term, which is some comfort to my spouse, Ellie."
But he said his surgical team has suggested a positive outcome from the biopsy and any other treatment needed.
As for why he chose to announce his condition, the premier said Victoria is a "small town," and that, given he's been seen in hospitals and will be staying overnight for surgery, it's likely the news would have gotten out.
"And I think transparency is really important in these types of situations."
He said he thought it served as a reminder of humanity, as cancer and cancer scares are something that impact the lives of most people in the province.
The self-described Star Trek fan ended his news conference with the message: "Thank you very much. Live long and prosper, people."
Following the announcement, the Opposition Liberals issued a statement of well-wishes.
"I have known John Horgan for nearly two decades… Today's news comes as a shock to all of us," interim party leader Shirley Bond wrote.
"These are times to set aside politics and focus on the personal. This is about people who care about one another, because nothing is more important than health and family."
She said Horgan will be in the party's thoughts, and that she looks forward to "vigorous" debate when he's healed and back at the legislature.