HODGE: NDP election call raises questions

Columnist Charlie Hodge says NDP leader should have shown more patience

A true hodgepodge of issues worthy of comment in this autumn kickoff HodgePodge column…

I was as surprised as most readers with NDP Premier John Horgan’s snap election call last week.

While I’m not convinced it was a wise move, I’m not shocked either since the NDP seem to have rarely made wise election timing decisions in the past.

On Sept. 24, Horgan took his party’s re-election campaign speaking notes to the opening day of the Union of B.C. Municipalities Conference instead of the traditional premier’s address.

He suggested since the COVID-19 pandemic is not going away quickly it is imperative that B.C. has solid leadership during the next four years for an easier recovery.

“Let’s get the politics behind us. Let’s have a vigorous debate. Let’s get the issues on the table,” Horgan spewed, signalling the start of politics and what will likely be several weeks of finger pointing, name calling and navel gazing by all parties involved in the provincial popularity play. Look out – here comes the rhetoric.

Horgan suggested there was little need to worry about going to the polls suggesting health precautions will be priority at polling stations while noting that B.C. residents may request mail-in ballots as well.

Naturally, both the Green Party and Liberals suggested the snap election was not necessary and clandestine in design with both Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson and Green leader Sonia Furstenau suggesting as much during their UBCM speeches.

I have yet to figure out what Horgan gained with a snap election this early versus waiting longer?

To a large degree, many B.C. residents seem somewhat content with the job Horgan has done during the past six months of unstable, difficult and fearful times.

Horgan has shown poise, confidence, leadership and a strong defence of the province against both Ottawa and the U.S.

However, he does not have all his ducks lined up.

Once again the NDP are entering an election woefully thin on candidates to lead their charge.

In some ridings, the party had yet to have one planned when the election was called. Certainly many of them are not that well established in their ridings.

Horgan could have taken his time, got his NDP ship’s holes solidly plugged and some main sails set before setting sail on another election campaign voyage into the rough political waters of B.C. politics.

Yet again, the boat has left the harbour but there seems no clear course established.

If Horgan had waited another six months or so he would have still had the luxury of planning his work and working his plan.

He could have found sailors for his good ship NDP with names and experience – perhaps including some municipal sailors ready to take a gamble and jump ship from city council to provincial.

An election now is too early for many potential candidates to make that choice.

The saddest part of the snap election is it fast-tracked the retirement of local MLA Steve Thomson, who had announced last year he would step aside at the end of this term.

I had the honour of working with Steve directly and indirectly on issues over the years and always found him a class act, hard working, effective and focused. His gentle nature and genuine caring have made him one of the more popular politicians in B.C.

You served us well, Steve. Thank you.

***

Households across the continent roared with pleasure Monday night as the Tampa Bay Lightening finally shut down, shut out and shut off the Stanley Cup hopes of the Dallas Stars.

Half the cheering was likely from Hockey Playoff Victims (HPV), also known as hockey spouses or hockey’s ‘significant others,’ who lost the attention of their hockey loving partners the last half of the summer thanks to the COVID-19 version of a unique Stanley Cup playoffs.

If the bizarre, summer schedule was long and demanding on the players, imagine being family members of those players living in the bubble.

Regardless of the frustration and inconvenience, hockey fans were certainly treated to a highly competitive and skill filled series of games from the beginning of the convoluted yet effective playoff format.

It worked out even better than league and player representatives imagined.

At the end of the day, the best team truly did win.

Going forward from here, when and how we ever see an NHL season or Stanley Cup again in the next few years is the next question.

***

I was as surprised as most readers with NDP Premier John Horgan’s snap election call last week.

While I’m not convinced it was a wise move, I’m not shocked either since the NDP seem to have rarely made wise election timing decisions in the past.

On Sept. 24, Horgan took his party’s re-election campaign speaking notes to the opening day of the Union of B.C. Municipalities Conference instead of the traditional premier’s address.

He suggested since the COVID-19 pandemic is not going away quickly it is imperative that B.C. has solid leadership during the next four years for an easier recovery.

“Let’s get the politics behind us. Let’s have a vigorous debate. Let’s get the issues on the table,” Horgan spewed, signalling the start of politics and what will likely be several weeks of finger pointing, name calling and navel gazing by all parties involved in the provincial popularity play. Look out – here comes the rhetoric.

Horgan suggested there was little need to worry about going to the polls suggesting health precautions will be priority at polling stations while noting that B.C. residents may request mail-in ballots as well.

Naturally, both the Green Party and Liberals suggested the snap election was not necessary and clandestine in design with both Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson and Green leader Sonia Furstenau suggesting as much during their UBCM speeches.

I have yet to figure out what Horgan gained with a snap election this early versus waiting longer?

To a large degree, many B.C. residents seem somewhat content with the job Horgan has done during the past six months of unstable, difficult and fearful times.

Horgan has shown poise, confidence, leadership and a strong defence of the province against both Ottawa and the U.S.

However, he does not have all his ducks lined up.

Once again the NDP are entering an election woefully thin on candidates to lead their charge.

In some ridings, the party had yet to have one planned when the election was called. Certainly many of them are not that well established in their ridings.

Horgan could have taken his time, got his NDP ship’s holes solidly plugged and some main sails set before setting sail on another election campaign voyage into the rough political waters of B.C. politics.

Yet again, the boat has left the harbour but there seems no clear course established.

If Horgan had waited another six months or so he would have still had the luxury of planning his work and working his plan.

He could have found sailors for his good ship NDP with names and experience – perhaps including some municipal sailors ready to take a gamble and jump ship from city council to provincial.

An election now is too early for many potential candidates to make that choice.

The saddest part of the snap election is it fast-tracked the retirement of local MLA Steve Thomson, who had announced last year he would step aside at the end of this term.

I had the honour of working with Steve directly and indirectly on issues over the years and always found him a class act, hard working, effective and focused. His gentle nature and genuine caring have made him one of the more popular politicians in B.C.

You served us well, Steve. Thank you.

***

The Hodge house could use some support prayers and best wishes for family members. Otti Tomani, Tez’s mom recently suffered a stroke.

While battling back in recovery, she still has a long ways to go before she is out of the woods.

How much paralysis and damage will remain permanent is still in questions so prayers and best wishes are welcomed.

As well, my brother-in-law Dr. Keith Reid is battling back from a boggling, mysterious scenario which has left him with significant brain injury. Keith apparently suffered carbon monoxide poisoning while on his sailboat and was found unconscious.

He has now survived a coma and is in recovery, but how much brain and other damage he may have suffered remains unknown.

I admit I find it troublesome to hear of a brilliant mind such as Keith unable to remember what they did for a living.

I know he is in the tremendous hands of his doctors and my sister. Your prayers and thoughts for Keith would be appreciated as well.

Blessings.

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