B.C. NDP leader John Horgan speaks by video from Vancouver to delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, Sept. 24, 2020. (UBCM)

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan called a surprise election on the first day of the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, leaving him in the awkward position of assuring delegates that its main function is vital to the province’s business.

The main function is “speed dating,” hundreds of short meetings between local politicians and cabinet ministers to explain local needs for housing, forestry, education or health care. But all those NDP ministers automatically stepped down as the UBCM convention opened Monday and either retired or began campaigning to win their seats again.

A spokesman for Horgan said meetings with cabinet ministers were set up online the previous week as part of the arrangements for the virtual convention.

Horgan delivered the traditional UBCM-closing speech reserved for premiers Sept. 24, via video from Vancouver to more than 1,000 delegates who participated remotely because of COVID-19 public health restrictions.

He described chance meetings in his travels around B.C. with Vanderhoof councillor Brian Frenkel and others, some of which led to new facilities like a primary care centre in the small community west of Prince George.

“I see UBCM as a great opportunity to have those dialogues,” Horgan said. “I know, year after year it feels like speed dating. You have your 15 minutes with the minister. And I want to tell you that as a former public servant, this is critically important to the professional public service.”

RELATED: ‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments say

RELATED: B.C. Greens leader blasts Horgan’s election at UBCM

Before Horgan’s speech, Frenkel accepted the role of UBCM president for the next year, taking over from Sooke Mayor Maja Tait. Frenkel gave a hint of how the sudden election call turned the convention upside down.

“I would not have known how much energy it took for UBCM staff to put this convention on,” Frenkel said in his acceptance speech. “It is an amazing thing to have an election called on a Monday, and for staff to put this together and fill the holes in the program that that election gave us.”

Instead of the traditional post-convention media scrum to discuss issues raised at the convention, Horgan’s video chat was mainly devoted to answering friendly questions from Burnaby councillor Sav Dhaliwal, a former UBCM president.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Submitted
BC VOTES 2020: John Rustad re-elected in Nechako Lakes riding

The result is based on preliminary vote count and the final results will be available after Nov.6

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of B.C. girl, 7, by accused mother was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

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

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry hears of $800,000 and more in bags, luggage, backpacks

The lottery corporation has said it consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

Most Read