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Year-end questions for Premier John Horgan

Maclean Kay
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In lieu of an interview with the Premier, The Orca respectfully submits the questions we would’ve asked.

Note: this was written before referendum results were announced – and since these were the questions we would’ve asked, it didn’t feel right to change them after the fact. 

Earlier this month, I asked the Premier’s Office for a year-end interview. Accredited members of the Legislative Press Gallery usually – but not always – receive one. This request was politely (and apologetically) denied, citing a lack of time.

There has been some talk about this, so for the record: I accept this at face value, and thank his staff for considering my request. After all, I’m still the new guy around here – and as I’m only too aware, for any Premier, demand for time always exceeds supply.

Next year, I’ll still be here, and will ask again.

I’ll even bring cookies.

 

Q: More than one observer has commented on how much your demeanour has changed since becoming Premier. You said that being in Opposition is actually harder than being in government, because the job is literally to be negative all the time. Do you have any sympathy for Andrew Wilkinson?

 

Q: You often read about sitting US Presidents (probably not so much the current one, granted) and Prime Ministers having informal chats and seeking advice from their predecessors, regardless of party affiliation. Has that happened with you? Have you ever sought them out?

 

Q: You once agreed with me that you had criticized previous governments for focusing on their surplus and downloading costs to taxpayers and municipalities. What do you say to the growing chorus of mayors and councils saying the Employers Health Tax is forcing them to raise property taxes?

 

Q: You’ve been clear that you support moving away from a secret ballot for union certification towards a card check system, where everyone knows how and whether their coworkers voted. How does this do anything but create more division and risk bullying and harassment?

 

Q: On TransMountain, it has been suggested that had your government continued to object but trusted the process, it would’ve died in the courts. Instead, you forced Ottawa’s hand; they own the project now, which would seem to guarantee it goes forward eventually. Do you regret being so aggressive?

 

Q: The BC Liberals refer to 19 new or increased taxes under your government. Do you agree with that description, and how does this square with increasing affordability?

 

Q: On Proportional Representation, do you think BC had a good public debate, or did it simply become a partisan exercise?

 

Q: All the polls indicate the results will be close. With spoiled or otherwise ineligible ballots, turnout may be below 40%. If 50% plus one say Yes to PR, we’re talking about a fifth of eligible voters. How can you decry First Past the Post creating majorities with 40% of the vote, and say 20% is a mandate to change our entire electoral system?

 

Q: Twice in QP, you’ve had some fun needling the BC Liberals that their party might split under Proportional Representation. But the two parties in that coalition earn upwards of 65% of the federal vote. If PR does happen, and they do split – has it occurred to you that might be terrible for the NDP?

 

Q: Do you think engagement and turnout would have been increased if you had created a Citizen’s Assembly, and not left so many details to be determined after the fact?

 

Q: There are two NDP governments in this country, but it would be difficult to identify two more diametrically opposed leaders than you and Rachel Notley. Would this dispute with Alberta have been easier to stomach – and sell – if you were dealing with someone from a different party?

 

Q: Federally, Jagmeet Singh has had a difficult time gaining traction, which might make you the Ranking Officer (bridge-building Star Trek reference!) in the NDP, nationwide. If he’s unsuccessful in Burnaby South, what’s the next step for your party?

 

Q: Andrew Weaver told me “things have changed” when it comes to things he and his party object to, like LNG and Site C, and “that wouldn’t happen now.” I appreciate those weren’t necessarily your policy preferences either – but obviously, both happened. Do you anticipate any upcoming issues or legislation that might be difficult to secure Green support for?

 

Q: The events in the Speaker’s Office overshadowed what was a very busy fall session for your government. With the margins in the legislature so tight, how can your party avoid looking self-interested, while simultaneously accusing the BC Liberals of the same?

 

Q: You rightly criticized the previous government for improperly deleting emails and not retaining records. I’m sure you and your government were acutely aware of the need to do better, but there have been several mistakes. What happened?

 

Q: Your transportation minister and the study she commissioned both agree: the gridlock around the Massey Tunnel is serious problem – and whatever the other objections, the bridge project you cancelled would have alleviated it. This will likely be a major election issue in several key ridings – do you regret cancelling it?

 

Q: Finally, can we at least agree The Orca is lit?

 

Maclean Kay is Editor-in-Chief of The Orca

 

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