VICTORIA, B.C. – The BC Liberals and Christy Clark were officially dethroned yesterday, paving the way for BC NDP Leader John Horgan to become the next Premier of British Columbia.
Peace River South MLA and soon to be former Education Minister, Mike Bernier reminisced on things accomplished and acknowledged going forward, he and Peace River North MLA Dan Davies will have more work to do.
“This is where it is going to put a lot of work for Dan Davies and myself because as we’ve seen in the past, the NDP has not been very receptive to the Peace Region. There is a lot of projects and things in the works. My job and Dan’s job will be to ensure that we are definitely number one in representing our ridings and making our voices heard.”
Bernier expressed his gratitude to Christy Clark, saying that he has had a great opportunity to work with her.
“I’m really lucky, I have a really close relationship with Christy Clark. I’ve known her for about ten years and I’ve been very close with her for the last four or five and I think today is a day to remember how amazing she is. What she accomplished as a Premier, the respect that she garnered from so many people and when you look at where British Columbia is today compared to when she took over and you look at the economic situation and the jobs numbers, all of the things that she strived to work on, she succeeded.
I have 100% respect for what she has accomplished as a Premier.”
He also noted that the NDP are inheriting a very strong financial situation, something he says the BC Liberals will hold him accountable when it comes to where that money will be spent.
“The NDP are in a very lucky situation I would say, probably the best situation any government has had going in when they start. We just tabled, not only the budget and the accounts coming forward that show that our surplus is going to be even larger. We’re looking at a $2.8 billion surplus right now but we need to remember, that is one time funding, that is this year. There is so much money that is in the pots, I would say thanks to the work we’ve done as government that the NDP are now going to get to spend. We are going to have to hold them to account in the areas that we were hoping to see that money spent.”
Bernier also touched on the subject of the soon to be Premier coming to northeast B.C. He says he hopes that Horgan realizes that he represents all of British Columbia and takes up the offer of anyone providing him with that invitation. Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman sent a letter inviting the BC NDP Leader to visit Fort St. John recently after BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver and Christy Clark visited with Ackerman and Council recently.
He also noted that they weren’t surprised at how fast Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon made her decision on Thursday evening saying that he had a hunch that the Lt.-Gov. may have already had her mind made up as soon as government fell.
After Horgan had met with Guichon, Clark spoke with reporters where she said that she did ask the Lt.-Gov. for dissolution and to have another election, something Clark previously said she would not do. Bernier says they felt that was their only option on the table, given what had unfolded.
“I really think that was the only option we had in front of us. In her heart, Christy did not want to do that but there was a lot of pressure within our Caucus, within MLAs such as myself. I was very vocal on the fact that if we were going to be in opposition, I wanted that to be by the people of British Columbia choosing to put us in opposition, not a leader of the Green Party and a leader of the NDP, who form a coalition and a deal to put us into opposition.”
Peace River North MLA Dan Davies could not be immediately reached for comment.