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Horgan heads to Germany

Former Premier John Horgan is Canada's next ambassador to Germany

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Former Premier John Horgan pointing the way, May 13, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Wednesday, November 1, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated November 2, 2023]

Political analysis by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Former BC Premier John Horgan is heading to Germany, to be Canada’s ambassador there.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement this morning. “Canada and Germany are close friends on the world stage. Today, PM Justin Trudeau announced the appointment of John Horgan as Canada’s next Ambassador to @CanEmbGermany, where he will work to continue strengthening ties and advancing our common interests,” said Trudeau in his official statement.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan, chatting over lunch in Vancouver, summer 2021.

“With his proven track record of dedicated public service, I’m confident he’ll continue to serve Canadians well – and help advance our countries’ common interests and shared priorities,” said Trudeau in social media.

John Horgan has left an indelible mark on the west shore, Vancouver Island, and British Columbia — and arguably also Canadian politics (through his use of a Supply and Confidence Agreement — something the federal NDP copied, and his work on health care funding through the Council of the Federation). He steered the ship in a new direction.

Local focus:

The announcement was also made provincially in a statement from the BC NDP caucus, signed by the new young MLA who was engineered to lead the riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca where Horgan lived and built his political career right to the top.

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MLA John Horgan still working the local political angle for his hand-picked replacement candidate, Ravi Parmar, showing off flags outside the new Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School in Langford, Jan 31, 2023. [web]

“I am filled with immense joy upon hearing the announcement of former Premier John Horgan’s appointment as the next Ambassador of Canada to Germany. This is not just a monumental achievement for John, but it also marks a moment of great honour and pride for our entire community in Langford,” said Langford-Juan de Fuca MLA Ravi Parmar today.

“John’s dedication, extensive experience, and commitment to the people of Canada has always set him apart. I am fully confident that John will strengthen the relationship between Canada and Germany and will serve as a distinguished representative of our community and our country on the global stage,” said Parmar.

Horgan was first elected as MLA in 2005 in the riding now known as Langford-Juan de Fuca; the riding’s previous borders at times included Metchosin, but the local people-first focus for Horgan was always Sooke. He often implied finding a special energy there in which he felt at home, even though his residence was in Langford in the west shore end of the riding.

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Parmar thanked Horgan with a big hug, on election night June 24, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Horgan had grown up in Saanich where he went to school and was later to say he was ‘saved’ by teachers who took an interest in his well-being. Horgan studied at Trinity College in Ontario where he met Tommy Douglas who it turns out inspired the then young John Horgan to reach for the stars in terms of political benefit for everyday people. Horgan worked as a civil servant in Ottawa and elsewhere before embarking on the road of elected politics.

Don’t do it, you might win!

John Horgan once said on the campaign trail that a close friend or relative had said “don’t do it” (as to running for political office in 2005)… “you might win”. And the rest is history.

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Horgan took leadership of the BC NDP in 2013 and served as premier during 2017-2022, solidifying the progressive left into BC politics for likely at least a decade if not longer (given the seismic shifts in bedrock policies).

Indelible political mark:

John Horgan is considered one of the best premiers BC has ever had — for notably embedding a new policy direction in the province that has opened up services, tax dollars, and a range of rights for the people of BC. His influence is already seen spilling over in significant housing policy changes through the work of ministers and others that he steered into provincial politics and adjunct support networks.

Horgan also spearheaded a change in education that will affect at least a generation… the ministry formerly Education became in 2022 the Ministry of Education and Child Care under his watch so that the public education system carries children ‘from cradle to graduation’ as one school district superintendent at the time of that shift.

John Horgan is arguably one of the political system masterminds of recent times in BC. He knew how to pull the strings and levers of the system in order to produce his desired result, some of which will now impact the west shore or all of BC for generations to come.

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Outgoing MLA John Horgan addressing the media at the BC Legislature, Feb 9, 2023. [web]

Horgan’s deliberate intention to make his vision for BC come true was helpful to many in their own careers but also pinned people and places to pathways of his view or his making. Most of those have worked out for the best.

Right off the top, what many political pundits may remark upon about Horgan’s strategic leadership would include bringing gender equity to the provincial cabinet (which he preferred to call the executive council, as that’s where decisions were made).

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And of course the deft elegance by which he formed a progressive government after the May 2017 provincial election by bringing the BC Greens on board in a Supply and Confidence Agreement that ousted the BC Liberals from power; the cobbled-together plan held until BC Green leader Andrew Weaver stepped back from politics but Horgan called a snap election in 2020 to solidify a majority for the NDP as BC’s progressive government.

Horgan guided BC through the COVID pandemic in 2020 but stepped back from the top job toward the end of 2021 following a throat cancer diagnosis. By June 2022 he had announced that he would not seek reelection in 2024. By October 2022, David Eby was internally moved into place as Premier and Eby was sworn in as premier in November 2022, appointing a new NDP cabinet in December 2022.

Bringing Parmar on board:

The last piece of Horgan’s vision was to make sure Ravi Parmar would lead Langford-Juan de Fuca as MLA, a result that was achieved in a by-election in June 2023.

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Former Premier John Horgan addressed the BC Legislative Assembly as MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, on Feb 9, 2023. [livestream]

Horgan seems to have ushered Ravi Parmar through politics like he would a son; they first met when Parmar was only yet in elementary school. Years later Parmar would become the youngest school district trustee in Sooke School District 62 (SD62), a long-time launch pad for Parmar’s rise to the MLA seat. The cycle is now complete.

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Comments rolling in:

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  • “Congratulations on your appointment as our country’s next ambassador to Germany, @jjhorgan! You’ll do a fantastic job in strengthening relations between our two countries!” ~ Alistair MacGregor, MP (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford)
  • “Congratulations to @jjhorgan on being the new ambassador to Germany. He did an amazing job working for British Columbians and I know he’ll be a fantastic representative for Canada in Germany. And I am sure that he is already practicing saying: ‘Ich bin John aus Langford’.” ~ BC Premier David Eby
  • “Congratulations to former Premier John Horgan on his appointment to Canada’s next Ambassador to Germany! I know my longtime friend and colleague will be a fantastic representative for Canada in Germany.” ~ Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin)
  • “Congratulations on this appointment @jjhorgan! A fitting recognition of a lifetime of public service. I know you will bring the same force representing Canada in Germany as you did when you represented our province.” ~ Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim
  • “Congratulations on your appointment as Canada’s next Ambassador to Germany,@jjhorgan! I wish you every success in this exciting next step in your life of public service.” ~ Philip Steenkamp, President, Royal Roads University

===== RELATED:

Parmar picks up the Horgan torch in Langford-Juan de Fuca (June 24, 2023)

John Horgan wraps up 18 years in BC elected politics (February 9, 2023)

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Mary P Brooke has followed the politics of the west shore since 2008, through a series of publications in which John Horgan was an editorial contributor or himself the subject of editorial journalism.

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Premier John Horgan takes a moment’s pause to pose with Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke, at the Sooke Community Sport Box opening on June 26, 2022. [Darcy Smith]

Horgan’s trajectory was written about in the printed pages of MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020) — all of which are hardbound in the permanent collections at the Sooke Region Museum.

Ms Brooke was involved in community growth politics right from arriving in Sooke in 2007 through to moving to Langford in 2017, and continuing now in both journalism and the furtherance of urban food resilience.

Mary P Brooke’s political analysis continues forward in Island Social Trends which has presented daily news since mid-2020 at IslandSocialTrends.ca. The Island Social Trends print edition will launch in January 2024.