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B.C. Election 2020

After more than three years of governing with the support of the Greens, John Horgan’s NDP has called a B.C. election for Oct. 24.

Critics are taking aim at the NDP for calling an election a year ahead of schedule, arguing the decision is a “cynical, self-serving” move. 

For his part, Horgan says a clear mandate from B.C. residents is needed to avoid “instability” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The NDP Leader is also seeking to capitalize on strong favourability numbers to turn his minority government into a majority. The NDP and Liberals currently hold 41 seats apiece. The Greens currently hold two seats in the B.C. Legislature after former party leader Andrew Weaver, who’s not running for re-election, opted to sit as an independent.

So what does this B.C. election mean for the environment file? For starters, it raises questions about how much the NDP has followed through on its promises from the 2017 vote, which saw the party rise to power after 16 years of BC Liberal rule.

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While the NDP has taken action on some issues, such as implementing a ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting, a number of pledges have come up short. That includes a failure to enact a standalone endangered species law and debate about whether the CleanBC plan goes far enough to fulfill climate change commitments.

The NDP came under fire from supporters for choosing to go ahead with the BC Liberals’ controversial Site C dam project in the Peace Region but were praised by environmental advocates for vowing to “use every tool in the toolbox” to prevent the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson has criticized continued opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline, saying “permitted projects should not be blocked by protesters.”

Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau wants to see Site C scrapped and has slammed the NDP’s pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 even as the LNG Canada project goes ahead. The NDP have not demonstrated how the province’s LNG ambitions are compatible with climate targets.

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