Friday February 24, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated 5:25 pm]
Political commentary by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Due to two BC MLA high-profile resignations, there could be more interest than usual in the resultant by-elections that will be called this year.
Both former premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) and former cabinet minister Melanie Mark (MLA for Vancouver–Mount Pleasant) will fully step down next month (before or at the March 31 fiscal year end of 2022-2023).
In celebrating his Irish roots, Horgan is likely to speak again on St Patrick’s Day, March 17, with some final remarks. He used the St Patrick’s Day platform for when he became NDP Party Leader in 2014 and again to declare the COVID Health Emergency in 2020.
Buzz about September:
By-elections must be called within six months of the resignation date.
Political pundits are looking to by-elections being called for September, but it’s entirely up to Premier David Eby as to the timing.
September would ensure people are back from summer vacation and back to routines. Summer elections would likely not get as much voter attention.
Scope of resignation impact:
Given his five year vibrant progressive tenure as BC’s 36th Premier, John Horgan’s profile is of course much higher, deeper and broader than Mark’s. But the emotional and biting remarks about the treatment of Indigenous women in the political process (and particularly the BC Legislative Assembly) pushed MLA Mark’s departure right up there into the national news this week.
Today Premier Eby again rattled off a list of Melanie Mark’s accomplishments while in John Horgan’s Cabinet for five years. However, Eby did not give Mark a cabinet seat when he announced his first cabinet back on December 7 (apparently respecting her request to not be included).
It’s ironic that the political profiles of Horgan and Mark would be tied in this manner through same-year (possibly even same-date) by-elections, given that her feelings of ‘torture’ in the Legislative Assembly happened under then-Premier John Horgan’s watch. The juxtaposition of experiences in the legislature — an institution revered and enjoyed by Horgan — is the key takeaway here.
The Langford-Juan de Fuca voter base is presently in both Langford and Sooke. While Horgan as NDP has held the riding since 2005, there is always an strong undercurrent of BC Liberal interest in that riding led primarily by the local business community. If proposed BC Electoral boundaries change in the west shore, there will be a decoupling of Sooke and Langford, which adds an element of complexity to the by-election this year.
The Vancouver-Mount Pleasant riding has been an NDP stronghold for eight of nine elections. This week Mark said she would ‘make sure’ an Indigenous matriarch runs in that riding.
MLA Melanie Mark announces resignation (February 23, 2023)
John Horgan wraps up 18 years in BC elected politics (February 9, 2023)
Premier David Eby announces his new Cabinet (December 7, 2022)
Decoupling of Langford and Sooke in proposed new BC electoral boundaries (November 22, 2022)
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends emerged in mid-2020 from a preceding series of publications by founder/editor Mary P Brooke and published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc, covering news of the Vancouver Island region, BC and national issues through a socioeconomic lens.
The publication series began with MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then morphed to a weekly print newspaper Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and then into the weekly PDF/print West Shore Voice News (2014-2020). The news at IslandSocialTrends.ca (2020 to present) is entirely online.
Ms Brooke has covered the news of John Horgan in the west shore since 2008, and now reports with the BC Press Gallery.