While British Columbians listened to the radio, watched TV or scanned social media to learn the fate of the B.C. Legislature, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice sat with colleagues at a pub in Victoria.
“Shortly after the LG (Lt. Gov.) asked John [Horgan] to form a government, he joined us,” Rice said.
Earlier on Thursday, the B.C. Liberal government was toppled by a non-confidence motion and after six years as premier, Christy Clark offered her resignation to Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon and John Horgan was asked to form a government, making him the 36th premier-designate of British Columbia.
“There’s a lot of work to do to fix the problems British Columbians are facing,” Horgan said in a statement, “And we’re ready to get started.”
Rice offered three key commitments the NDP hopes to fulfil during their time leading the first minority government in B.C. in over 60 years.
“Making life more affordable for people, bringing back the services people count on and creating a sustainable economy for everyone,” said Rice, elaborating that halting BC Hydro rate hikes, reducing ferry fares, shortening health care wait times and meeting the class size and composition requirements laid out by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2016 as examples.
Rice also spoke of the NDP commitment to revitalizing the forestry sector to create more jobs, citing the ongoing softwood lumber dispute with the United States.
“John Horgan will visit the United States within the next month to act on this,” Rice said.
For Prince Rupert, Rice listed economic development and a replacement for Prince Rupert Middle School as priorities.
“I’ve reached out to the mayor and a plan for a robust discussion with city council is a top priority,” Rice said. “The city is challenged with aging infrastructure and a reduced tax base. I’m eager to assist with economic development so our community can once again thrive.”
Seven weeks after the election and 16 years since the NDP last held the reigns of power in B.C., Rice said she’s ready.
“I’m excited to be a part of a new government that puts people at the forefront. I’m eager to get to work.”
No date has been set for Premier-designate John Horgan’s swearing in and no cabinet decisions have been announced.