Home West Shore LOCAL Horgan’s last day as MLA in Langford


Horgan’s last day as MLA in Langford

Perhaps now taking the sports road?

Saturday April 1, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC

[Updated 2 pm] Former B.C. premier John Horgan joins board of coal business

Political insights by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

After many final farewells along the path to his departure as an MLA (and the 36th BC Premier) Horgan made some final remarks, again, at a podium in Langford on Friday March 31, 2023. He was taking part in the announcement about a new school proposed for the tiny town of Port Renfrew.

That slam dunk could very well have been his last official speech, on the heels of the previous night’s ‘Live Long and Prosper’ big bash fundraiser for the NDP party faithful held in downtown Victoria. He described that as a long night, listening to six politicians.

horgan, parmar, rachna singh
Celebrating seismic upgrade funding for Port Renfrew Elementary, March 31, 2023 at the Sooke School District (SD62) administration office (from left): Pacheedhat Chief Jeff Jones, Songhees First Nations Elder Florence Dick, Education and Child Care Minister Rachna Singh, Langford-Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan, and SD62 Board Chair Ravi Parmar. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Meanwhile he did manage a visit to the sports field at Starlight Stadium right after the school board office appearance, as part of a Rugby Canada announcement in support of the local Langford economy.

john horgan, lana popham, rugby
Langford-Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan on his last day of provincial elected life, at a Rugby Canada announcement at Starlight Stadium in Langford. [Selfie with Saanich South MLA Lana Popham, now Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, Mar 31/23, Twitter]

The John Horgan MLA sign has been taken down from John Horgan’s constituency office on Jacklin Road in Langford, and with it goes a many-chaptered story of political life on the west shore of Vancouver Island. Local constituents with urgent provincially-related needs can be assisted through the neighbouring constituency office of Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin).

Momentum in the forested seaside:

Horgan built his vote-gathering momentum in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding much more so in the Sooke side of the riding’s geographical footprint. There he could impress and be impressed by the real needs of British Columbians who fall within the ‘affordability’ platform.

While he is now being branded as ‘John in Langford’ (where has lived since the 1980s, living in the same modest house and raising a family), his sociopolitical heart has been in Sooke (where now one of his grown sons resides). The education sector of his political work has bridged both Sooke and Langford.

tait, dix, horgan, hollins, sooke
Pleased as punch at the first shovel in the ground for the Sooke health-care facility, March 16, 2023 (from left): Sooke Mayor Maja Tait; Health Minister Adrian Dix; former Premier John Horgan, MLA, Langford-Juan de Fuca; and Island Health Board Chair Leah Hollins. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trneds]

Now the Langford footprint:

But Langford is from where John Horgan chooses to moves forward. That’s where the business connections are (much of that intricately woven by long-time former Langford Mayor Stew Young, with whom Horgan goes fishing) and a now-entrenched political base which — at least on the education side of things — that revolves heavily around the SD62 building on Jacklin Road in Langford.

Leaving that building into the greyish light of a cool Friday morning Horgan will have felt much accomplished. He leaves in his wake a ‘diverse’ school board including trustees and other leadership with First Nations roots not to mention an education minister who springs forth from Surrey (with one of the largest school district’s in the province) and the south Asian community. He mentioned both those points in his speech to about 50 people packed into the SD62 admin building lobby.

Last day at SD62:

Yesterday Horgan also boasted of his influence to bring SPEAC (district parent PAC) reps up through the ranks within School District 62 Sooke.

horgan, ctv, sd62
John Horgan addressed TV media outside the SD62 administration building in Langford, Mar 31, 2023. [Island Social Trends]

It might be known that others were left behind over the years in this process of hand-picked forerunners. Horgan is a party-faithful political captain, and everyone must fit.

At the final day’s SD62 announcement were SD62 trustees whose presence indicated how long Horgan has been on top of the education file (he was NDP Education Critic in the early days of his elected political life).

The former folk at the March 31 SD62 announcement in Langford included Bob Beckett, Wendy Hobbs, Neil Poirier, Denise Riley, Dianna Seaton and Margot Swinburnson. New trustees in the room were Amanda Dowhy (vice-chair), Russ Chipps, and Allison Watson under the political hand of SD62 Board Chair Ravi Parmar, who himself was hand-picked by Horgan over a decade ago (escalating rapidly from high school student to board member in 2014, to board chair soon after).

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By-election in Langford-Juan de Fuca:

With John Horgan’s official resignation as MLA already handed in weeks ago (with a final speech in the BC Legislature on February 9, 2023), that finally surfaced the long-time strategy of having Parmar run for the MLA seat in the Lanford-Juan de Fuca riding. There will also be a by-election in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant where MLA Melanie Mark also recently resigned.

Premier Day Eby is expected to announce a by-election date in the near future.

john horgan, last speech, feb 2023
Former Premier John Horgan delivered his last speech in the BC Legislature on Feb 9, 2023. [livestream]

If Parmar wins in Langford-Juan de Fuca, that will open a trustee seat on the SD62 board of education. That seat would be in the Belmont Zone in the large west shore footprint (Langford, Colwood, Highlands and Metchosin), leaving the Milne’s Landing Zone (Sooke and Juan de Fuca) untouched.

The NDP is ferociously proud of their now-retired leader. “With John at the helm, we’ve undone years of BC Liberal neglect, and made life safer and more affordable for people,” as posted by the BC NDP online yesterday.

Unique legacy:

A combination of intellectual, political strategist, showman, spiritual thinker, sports enthusiast, Star Trek aficionado, academic, policy geek, education champion, family man and visionary, John Horgan will be missed. Not only by those who worked at his side (or at his behest) all these years, but by a province that has yet to possibly fully realize the impact this one man has had on the trajectory of British Columbia for its people and within the Canadian federal ‘experiment’ which has been Horgan’s career-long muse (seen most recently in his work to advance the Canada Health Transfer negotiations in 2021 and 2022).

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

The 63-year-old who celebrates his Irish roots (highlighting St Patrick’s Day many times in his political magic making) might be best remembered in some circles for earmarking education as ‘the great equalizer’, though in recent years across society education could be seen as more of an optimizer than an equalizer.

Next chapter:

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Now onto what?

Well it won’t be as a political pundit on TV. Yesterday he told Island Social Trends a hard no on that… he says he wouldn’t want to criticize others in political roles who are doing their best in a hard job.

Though he also told media yesterday that he takes pride in being able to ‘work with everyone’, practicing well the art of political chameleon.

Horgan is likely comfortably well pensioned. But if he wants a day job, being a sportscaster might be easy for him and lucrative for any sportscast network.

John Horgan seems to be maintaining his ties with the sports community, and with long-time political comrade Lana Popham who now heads up the Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport ministry. Horgan might at least be seen in the VIP box in Vancouver for the upcoming Invictus Games (2025) and FIFA World Cup (2026).

trudeau, horgan
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC Premier John Horgan announced the 2025 Invictus Games coming to Vancouver and Whistler. [May 24, 2022]

Horgan seems to have now beaten cancer twice. His energy, colour and verve are back, though he still carries a water bottle close at hand to stay hydrated after losing his saliva through radiation for throat cancer.

Next steps for Horgan are yet to be travelled. Next chapter still to be written.

Over the years he has mentioned other things he might have done for a living…. basketball player, comedian. He’s enamored by TV grandeur (a fan of Star Trek and Game of Thrones) and movie celebrities (yep, including Ryan Reynolds aka Deadpool who now dabbles in sport team ownership).

Let’s see.

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Seismic upgrades or more for SD62 school in Port Renfrew (Mar 31, 2023) | Horgan in Sooke for his last constituency speech, announces big health-care prize (Mar 18, 2023) | Horgan & Dean deliver over $33 million to west shore municipalities (Mar 3, 2023) | Replacing Horgan & Mark: two key BC by-elections this year (Feb 24, 2023) | John Horgan wraps up 18 years in BC elected politics (Feb 9, 2023) | Former Premier John Horgan’s last day in the BC Legislature (Feb 9, 2023) | Transition from Horgan to Eby (Oct 26, 2022) | BC to host Invictus Games in 2025 (May 24, 2022)

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mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Island Social Trends is a professional news portal at islandsocialtrends.ca. Fully online since mid-2020, Island Social Trends emerged from the extensive groundwork of previous print publications in the west shore: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020)… all of which are permanently archived at the Sooke Region Museum.

Since 2008, journalist and editor Mary P Brooke has taken a socioeconomic lens to news analysis about the west shore and south Vancouver Island region, including BC provincial news, and national news impacts.

Ms Brooke has been covering news of School District 62 (SD62) at the board and committee level, including attending nearly all of their meetings since 2014. Mary P Brooke was a school trustee candidate (SD62 Belmont Zone – Langford, Colwood, Metchosin and Highlands) in the October 2022 election, as a service to community.

The Island Social Trends Journalism Program offers the opportunity for high school students on Vancouver Island to learn journalism by preparing and submitting articles in a real world context.