Chilliwack MLA Dan Coulter says he’s really going to miss B.C. Premier John Horgan when he steps down as leader of the B.C. New Democrats.
“He’s been a great friend,” Coulter said of Horgan, in a phone interview with The Progress on Thursday (June 30).
It had been two days since Horgan made the announcement that he was stepping away from party leadership for personal reasons, like the fatigue he’s had since battling throat cancer and then COVID-19.
“When people ask me what John is really like, I say he’s exactly as he appears to be on the news or giving speeches,” Coulter said. “What you see is what you get.”
Horgan has said he plans to stay on as MLA until the next election in two years, but a leadership convention will be held this fall.
“So I am excited to be still working with him until 2024,” Coulter said.
Coulter was elected as the MLA for Chilliwack in 2020 and he serves as the parliamentary secretary for accessibility.
Asked who he would like to see replace Horgan, Coulter said that no one has declared their intentions yet.
“Since I don’t know who the candidates are, or what issues they want to run on, I really couldn’t say or speculate,” Coulter replied carefully.
But having some time before the convention will give whoever the new leader is time to get their feet under them, introduce themselves, and get to work putting people first, he said.
One of Horgan’s obvious strengths as premier was remaining cool in the face of adversity.
“He faced COVID, fire, floods and cancer, always finding a way to rise above it, and bring people together.”
Ticking off some of the more notable achievements under Horgan’s leadership, Coulter mentioned his role in uniting caucus, in getting the province through the pandemic, and in taking historic steps with Indigenous people toward reconciliation.
“He speaks to every British Columbian, and he cares about governing for every British Columbian,” Coulter said, adding other successes like eliminating MSP payments, saving ICBC, and lowering vehicle insurance rates, as well as creating new childcare spaces and lowering fees.
“Horgan put us on the path to doing all these great things,” Coulter said.
Asked what might surprise people to know about the premier, Coulter said: “He a big Star Trek fan. And he’s also into lacrosse. He used to play. There are a lot of lacrosse sticks in his office.”
The MLA acknowledged there’s been lots of speculation about the premier’s departure and who will eventually take his place.
“I knew John was definitely considering what he should do going forward,” Coulter said. “If it seems sudden to some people, it’s because he’s such a great premier, and team-builder.
“But even if you know it’s coming, it’s still a little bit of a shock.”
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