by Harvey Oberfeld
June 26, 2022
John Horgan has had a very successful and laudable public service life. But at 62, having already faced a serious round of cancer and 35 radiation treatments, I believe his recent pronouncements reveal he’s going to very soon announce his retirement.
Maybe even this week when the NDP has a closed door Cabinet retreat. (You can read more about that here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-premier-john-horgan-speculation-future-1.6501386.
And what really makes me believe Horgan is about to retire was his open, public “mea culpa” for his NDP government’s billion dollar Royal BC Museum bungle.
That whole Museum fiasco showed British Colombians how out of touch and isolated from ordinary working British Columbians Horgan and the NDP have become in Victoria… surrounded by partisan elected and appointed public officials, defended by blindly loyal NDP supporters, pressured by powerful far left lobbyists, exploited by First Nations activist groups … and, until the Museum debacle blew up, leading a government handled with kid gloves by a mostly sycophantic media.
But out in the REAL world, the “people” are angry, fed up and stressed out … some can’t afford to buy gas for their vehicles any more, let alone pay rents or mortgages, groceries or even buy their children clothes.
Horgan and his government have been almost nowhere in helping them survive … shelling out a piddly $110 to ICBC policy holders, after two years of raking in billions in ICBC revenues … while refusing to,, providing a temporary lifting of the excessive provincial gas taxes, as other provincial governments have done.
Or provide any other relief … especially to struggling families or seniors.
How cold and cruel is that!!
Yet Horgan’s government had $1 billion for a new museum! And also pour taxpayers’ money into a $268 million FIFA party!!
Postponing … not fully cancelling … some version of that Museum white elephant won’t be forgotten or forgiven by the suffering electorate. And neither will people forget or forgive the costs of holding FIFA games in Vancouver … especially once they start experiencing all the disruptions, noise (riots?) FIFA will bring.
No doubt the NDP will face a greater challenge from the BC Liberals in the next BC election than they did in the last!
So Horgan fell on his sword, taking full and complete responsibility for the museum fiasco.
A laudable principled personal move? Or a politically astute scheme for a retiring leader to accept full responsibility for a clear political disaster … and hopefully get the party and other NDP Ministers/MLAs off the hook … and emerge politically unscathed?
I don’t believe any politician who intends to run for office again would declare himself to blame for such a huge political blunder of announcing a Billion Dollar Museum during such hard times.
Usually, the Leader finds instead some other reasons/excuses or government patsy or patsies to blame … to deflect blame from himself and the party. Unless that Leader knows he’s going to step down.
Then there’s FIFA.
The estimated cost of that festive football party will be $268 million. Which probably means $300 million.)
And remember, the crowds that event draws to any host city are not the same as those who attend a world exhibition or winter sporting games.
I wonder if the $268 million really includes the full cost of adequate policing …. and riot control?
Horgan and the NDP can’t possibly believe that this kind of boondoggle spending will go over well with the majority of suffering taxpaying voters?
Especially those in Vancouver’s core, Yaletown and the West End who will have to endure several days and several very late LOUD nights of drinking, partying and rowdiness that go with the FIFA games and visiting hooligans.
The next BC provincial election is scheduled for 2024 … before the 2026 games.
However, I have no doubt the BC Liberals will be raising, many times before and during the next election campaign, that Billion Dollar Museum blunder, FIFA’s cost, all the problems other FIFA host cities have had with noise, rowdiness, riots and the huge disruptions that anyone living near any of the FIFA games, drinking, gatherings and/or parting sites will have to endure.
And for that privilege… BC taxpayers will shell out $268 million? Or more.
Horgan knows all this.
So why would he want to face and endure all the pressures, angers and disruptions the ongoing Museum saga and escalating costs and emerging concerns/problems the FIFA games will bring? On top of the economic hardships so many families are now facing …and gas at $2.17 a litre … possibly even higher by the next election?
Better to retire with a largely successful public service and political record … while he is still well thought of by most British Columbians.
That would be Horgan’s gift to himself for his 63rd Birthday … on August 7.
(And on a personal level, Mr. Premier: Come on in, John! We have known each other, during your public service career, a VERY long time and as someone who retired at 61, I can tell you the water’s fine. Even terrific! Much less stress: good for your health; time for family and friends; opportunities to travel, enjoy, pursue other interests; and, enjoy leisurely lunches with friends and cronies. And you can still make points, be involved, keep others on their toes; and have fun … by writing a Blog!!