Last week I reported on a particularly bad opening day at the Legislature for John Horgan and the NDP. It turns out my column was a bit premature because a bad Monday was only just the beginning of the worst week the Premier has experienced since assuming office in 2017.
You may recall it all began with the sudden resignation of Citizen Services Minister Jinny Sims when it was revealed the RCMP is launching a criminal investigation into unspecified activities. That was quickly followed by an announcement that Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver was calling it quits and riding off into the sunset. Both Weaver and Sims will continue to hang around as MLAs until the next fixed election date in October 2021, so neither resignation will threaten Horgan’s fragile minority, for now.
Weaver’s departure as leader next summer does, however, have implications for the power-sharing agreement he signed with Horgan that brought the NDP to power in the first place. A new leader may ask for new terms to continue the relationship, especially since Horgan ran roughshod over the Greens when his cabinet approved Site C, backed LNG and then approved the Coastal GasLink pipeline. All of this would have been a tough week for any government, but then the Premier’s chief of staff got caught shredding documents related to a police investigation on Wednesday. Unfortunately for Horgan, the worst news came in the form of job losses amounting to 25,000 in just the last four months.
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Unemployment in the Northeast now stands at 6.2 percent. This prompted a call for the immediate resignation of Forests Minister Doug Donaldson. Donaldson fired back, claiming his $69 million forestry package is sufficient to exit forest workers from the industry. Mayors strongly disagree, after it was revealed the NDP is simply diverting existing money away from the much needed Rural Dividend Fund – a fund that many communities already rely on to help with economic development!
To cap it all off, S&P bond rating service issued a threat to downgrade B.C.’s hard-earned AAA credit rating amid concerns about rising debt and the province’s ability to weather a downturn in the global economy.
Cheer up, Premier Horgan. There’s still four more weeks of the fall session before you shut off the lights at the Legislature and take a very long break over Christmas.