Premier John Horgan listens as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry describes B.C.’s fall and winter pandemic plan, Sept. 9, 2020. (B.C. government)

Dr. Bonnie Henry wasn’t asked about early B.C. election

B.C. VOTES 2020: highlights from day one

B.C. Premier John Horgan has deferred to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on every step of the province’s response to COVID-19, except a surprise election set for Oct. 24.

“The election of course was not an issue I needed to raise with her,” Horgan told reporters as he announced the unscheduled vote Sept. 21. “She’s been working with Elections B.C. to make sure that should there be an election it will be as safe as possible.”

The election call also takes Health Minister Adrian Dix off the coronavirus pandemic, relieved of his day-to-day government responsibilities working side by side with Henry to campaign for his re-election. Provincial governments go into “caretaker mode” during elections, with the public service managing existing programs only.

Even with B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rates hitting new highs with additional testing, Horgan said an election can be held safely.

“There will be a long period of advance voting, so there won’t be a big crush on election day,” Horgan said. “Election day will be on a Saturday for the first time in a long long time, as well of course as mail-in ballots.”

Carole James heads ‘caretaker’ B.C. government

Finance Minister Carole James is the only NDP cabinet minister to keep working during the B.C. election campaign.

James is among 15 MLAs retiring at the end of their current term, which was scheduled to end in October 2021. James announced in March that she has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and would not run again in Victoria-Beacon Hill.

“The tradition is to have a stay-behind minister to work with the public service,” Premier John Horgan said. “That minister will be the deputy premier and finance minister, Carole James. And I am sure that she will administer the government of B.C. to meet the needs of B.C.ers that arise, and I’m sure she will do us all proud.”

The election comes as B.C. schools deal with positive COVID-19 tests, daily cases increase in the general population and B.C.’s health ministry approaches the seasonal influenza season with additional vaccine and testing capacity in the works for this fall and winter.

COVID-19 liquor, music rules extended with fines

In his last official act before heading into a B.C. election, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced tighter rules for liquor sales at restaurants and private events.

Premier John Horgan said the latest COVID-19 enforcement measures are aimed at younger people who have been careless and increased community infection.

Among the changes, no events can be held in banquet halls, “nightclubs must cease operating as nightclubs,” and liquor must not be consumed on the premises by owners, operators or staff after 11 p.m., Farnworth’s ministry announced Sunday, Sept. 20. Liquor sales for on-site consumption must stop by 10 p.m. at private events as well as licensed restaurants, and private events such as wedding receptions have the same rules as hotels.

Fines remain the same, $2,000 for owners, operators and organizers who disobey provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s public health orders, and $200 fines for individuals who don’t cooperate with restrictions at events.

“The challenge we have is that people are not abiding by the health orders that are already in place,” Premier John Horgan said as he was calling an election for Oct. 24. “That’s had an impact on night clubs, that’s had an impact on activities largely of younger British Columbians, and we’ve tried hard to get their attention, and we’ll continue to do that, as will Dr. Henry.”

RELATED: Citing need for stability, Horgan calls snap election

RELATED: B.C.’s per-capita COVID-19 cases highest in Canada


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Pumpkin carver features police officer killed in off-duty assault in Nelson

Abbotsford’s Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Near the top of Stanley Street in Nelson, a newly installed waterline will soon be joined to an old one that runs into the city from Selous Creek near Ymir, until now used only as emergency backup. The new line will take Selous Creek water to the Mountain Station Reservoir as a more permanent addition to the water supply. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Completion of Selous Creek line improves Nelson’s water supply

Project adds a new source of treated water

Get some help writing your novel at the Nelson Library online this month. Photo: Marcus Aurelius/Pexels
CHECK THIS OUT: Write that novel!

The Nelson Library can help you during National Novel Writing Month

The bobsled race has traditionally been a staple event at the carnival. File photo
Upcoming Rossland Winter Carnival cancelled due to COVID-19 crisis

This is the first time the carnival won’t be held in decades

Touchstones Nelson archivist and collections manager JP Stienne facilitates a members-only, behind-the-scenes tour of the Shawn Lamb Archives. Photo: Submitted
Membership drive begins at Touchstones Museum

Sign up by Nov. 20 to enter into a draw

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

The Kimberley Dynamiters' next two exhibition games have been postponed due to an individual testing positive for COVID-19. Paul Rodgers file.
Member of Kimberley Dynamiters tests positive for COVID-19

Exhibition games in Fernie, Creston postponed

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read