'Irresponsible and unnecessary': B.C. Green leader tears into Horgan over snap election
VANCOUVER -- B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau wasted no time in calling out John Horgan's snap election call, calling it "irresponsible and unnecessary."
Ending weeks of speculation, Horgan announced Monday British Columbians would be heading to the polls on Oct. 24.
"Let's be clear, this is about him and his party putting their fortunes ahead of British Columbians at a time when people are worried about their jobs, their financial security, their children and their health," she said, speaking outside the legislature.
Furstenau said she met with Horgan on Friday and told him he had a stable government, and accused him of playing politics during the pandemic, putting party interests ahead of British Columbians.
"I am disappointed that this is what John Horgan has chosen to do. And I fully intend to hold him accountable for this decision," she said.
Furstenau, the candidate for Cowichan Valley, only just accepted the leadership of the party on Sept. 14. The leadership election came after Andrew Weaver announced he would be stepping down as leader and sit as an independent MLA. Weaver has already announced he would not run for re-election.
Addressing questions about whether her party would be ready on such short notice, Furstenau said they would be "absolutely prepared" to run a province-wide campaign.
"We are ready and we are going to be putting a campaign forward that will give British Columbians an alternative to the style of politics that the NDP is doing right now," she said.
During the news conference announcing the election, Horgan said the Greens did not support two NDP bills, one of which would have allowed youth to be detained in hospital up to seven days after they overdose. At the time, then Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy said the ministry was planning to take more time for consultations to ensure the rights of young people were protected.
Horgan argued that weathering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic required a "stable and secure government," which is why the province needs an election now.
Furstenau was adamant that this has not been a time of instability in government and that there has been "unbelievable co-operation" and collaboration.
"The confidence and supply agreement very clearly lays out that what we agreed to, is we would support confidence bills and budget bills, and we have done that at every step of the way," she said.
"We have supported every budget bill. We have supported every confidence bill. Nowhere in that agreement does it say we have to support every bill."
After the 2017 election, the Greens and NDP signed the confidence and supply agreement, guaranteeing support for confidence motions and budgets. It also detailed that Horgan would wait to call an election until the fixed date, which would have fallen in 2021.
Furstenau said her party has adhered to every part of the agreement and that it did not stipulate "utter and total obedience to the NDP." She added it was "irresponsible" for Horgan to frame the snap election as anything other than putting politics ahead of British Columbians.
"This has been a historically positive three years for British Columbia," she said. "We were absolutely committed to continuing with it. It is him who made the decision to tear down, and tear up this agreement."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Alyse Kotyk and Bhinder Sajan