NDP leader prepares for new caucus

BC NDP leader John Horgan says he will be ready to announce his new caucus soon. - Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
BC NDP leader John Horgan says he will be ready to announce his new caucus soon.
— image credit: Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

NDP leader John Horgan will be ready to introduce a new caucus in about two weeks he confirmed during a stop in Williams Lake Friday.

“I’m putting together a new shadow cabinet, giving my colleagues new responsibilities on how we are going to hold the Liberals accountable,” Horgan said.  “I will also propose how we can advocate for economic development in places like Williams Lake, the north and the Interior.”

While in Williams Lake, Horgan met with trade union members at a reception on Friday evening, and earlier he met with Tsilhqot’in Chiefs Roger William and Joe Alphonse, West Fraser and Tolko to discuss the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision on rights and title.

“My message on the decision is that this is an enormous opportunity,” Horgan said.

“In my 20 years of being in B.C. politics, whether it be in government, the private sector, or as an MLA, everybody you talk to in industry wants certainty.”

Most venture capitalists will factor First Nations into their business plans as equal partners, he predicted, adding it will all depend on how communities adjust.

“There’s fear and excitement at the same time. For the first time the First Nations are in charge and that’s exciting.”

Horgan said what he thinks about Taseko’s New Prosperity Mine proposal doesn’t matter.

“The joint review panel turned it down twice, not the NDP, so don’t blame the NDP or the Tsilhqot’in people for that,” he said.

“Taseko made the case to an impartial panel selected by the federal government of Stephen Harper and the panel turned it down.”

Looking back on May’s defeat of the NDP in the provincial election, Horgan said his party’s platform was too detailed of a plan based on the party’s expectancy to win.

“Our platform was dense and budgeted down to the penny.”

The Liberals had no plan, Horgan said.

“They were going to be debt free, they were going to be leading the country in job growth. Well they’re far from debt free, the debt continues to rise at an unsustainable pace and our job numbers out today have us second last in the country and we’re building ferries in Poland.”

In advance of a meeting where the NDP caucus will be finalized, Horgan said he has assigned himself to meet with and hear from citizens, business owners, trade unionists, and environmental activists, living in communities not represented by the NDP.

“I can talk to my colleagues in the North or in the Kootenays, Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island, but I have to go directly to people in places like Quesnel and Williams Lake.”

It’s all about establishing relationships, familiarizing people with his approach to government, and ensuring people know they can call him if they are not being heard by their MLA or if they have an issue they want to raise with government.

Horgan is 54 and said initially he was reluctant to take on the mantle of leadership because he believes government has to start talking politics to a younger generation of British Columbians.

“That means recruiting younger people to get into this game rather than people who are finishing a career and looking for a hobby.”

The NDP bench has about two dozen people under 45, which Horgan views as a generational change on the NDP side of the floor.


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