Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo, photographed with wife Georgina following his 2017 election win, is opposed to BC Premier John Horgan calling a snap election amidst the current pandemic. (File photo)

Shuswap MLA opposed to ‘opportunistic’ snap election

Greg Kyllo says fall election would essentially shut down government when it’s needed most

Greg Kyllo doesn’t want to see Premier John Horgan putting himself and the NDP ahead of the needs of British Columbians.

With recent Angus Reid polling data showing Horgan’s approval rating at 69 per cent, due in part to the province’s response to COVID-19, there is growing speculation the premier may call for a snap election in October – one year ahead of the scheduled date of Oct. 16, 2021.

The Shuswap MLA and BC Liberal Party member has several concerns. One is that it would go against the purpose of having a fixed election date, something the B.C. Liberals introduced in 2001 to ensure the timing of elections wouldn’t be manipulated for political or partisan purposes.

“I think British Columbians want to have certainty, there’s a lot of validity in having fixed election dates,” said Kyllo. “John Horgan certainly spoke up in support of fixed election dates previously, before he was premier of the province.”

After becoming B.C.’s premier, and leader of a minority provincial government in 2017, Horgan and the NDP followed through with a campaign promise to change the election date from early May to the third Saturday in October, allowing time for a February budget to be debated and passed.

Read more: BC Liberals name Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo environment and parks critic

Read more: NDP-Green agreement provides stability during pandemic: Furstenau

Read more: B.C.’s forest minister announces he won’t be seeking re-election

“So, as a government, they certainly supported a fixed election date,” said Kyllo.

Kyllo also pointed out a snap election would contravene the ‘confidence and supply agreement’ signed by the BC NDP and the Green Party following the 2017 election. Founded on the principle of “good faith and no surprises,” the second point of the agreement states the leader of the NDP will “not request dissolution of the Legislature during the term of this agreement, except following the defeat of a motion of confidence.”

BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau, who was elected Monday, Sept. 14 to fill the vacancy left by former leader Andrew Weaver, directed comment in her victory speech at Horgan, stating this is not the time to dissolve government, “to grab more power for yourself.”

Kyllo said if Horgan tears up that agreement for his own political advantage, British Columbians should be furious.

“The Green Party has supported the government on all matters of confidence, and contrary to what John Horgan is trying to say now, largely the coalition government has actually been fairly effective, they’ve been moving forward, we’ve worked collaboratively in the house with respect to trying to do what was necessary to provide the necessary funding for government to address all the challenges around COVID,” said Kyllo.

Regarding the pandemic, Kyllo added that should the writ drop, government would essentially cease functioning until the election is over.

“This is the wrong time to be pulling political stunts when British Columbians want to have certainty with respect to the economy, health care, all of the very important issues (we) are facing,” said Kyllo. “They don’t need to be worrying about the opportunistic approach of the NDP to rush a snap election and get a political win.”

Following a recent shuffling of responsibilities within the BC Liberal Party, Kyllo, who formerly served as BC Hydro critic, was given the role of Official Opposition Critic for Environment and Parks. On Sept. 14, he was unanimously elected by his caucus colleagues to take on the additional role of BC Liberal Caucus Chair.

“It’s a real honour when you have a look at the depth and breadth of our talent and all those that I work with. It’s very humbling to be identified and selected from them to represent them as their caucus chair,” said Kyllo.

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