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dated: 2022-11-20 04:34:54 .
VANCOUVER – British Columbia’s outgoing premier says he’s offered a helping hand to resolve the health care funding standoff between provincial and territorial leaders and the federal government.
John Horgan, who will hand over the premiership to NDP Leader David Eby on Friday, said he sent a group text to his colleagues saying he was happy to help where he could, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared the same sentiment.
“I wasn’t looking for a job, I said I know the record, I’m passionate about it,” he told reporters Thursday in Vancouver.
“It was a genuine offer to the people I worked with that if there’s anything else I can do to extend this, I’d love to do it.”
Horgan said he believes he has the confidence of leaders across the political spectrum to help them solve the problem.
But he noted his relationship was not as strong with federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, whom he accused of “scaring” provincial leaders who gathered in Victoria in July hoping for a commitment to greater federal health transfers.
Horgan made the comments after a BC Chamber of Commerce event where he reflected on his legacy.
He said he decided to leave politics after his second battle with cancer and believes he is one of the rare examples of leaders who can go on their own terms.
“Even though this is the best job in the universe, I felt it was time to leave,” he said.
“It’s good news that there are a lot of young people in my club who are ready to take on challenges, and I’m leaving convinced that we as a province are in good hands.”
Horgan said he is leaving the province in good hands with Eby, who was the province’s attorney general and housing minister before becoming leader of the New Democratic Party and premier-elect.
“I gave him all the difficult files – everything – and he managed them. “I think you can bet you won’t find anyone who works harder than David,” Horgan said.
Ahead of the event, an organization of indigenous leaders in British Columbia issued a statement thanking Horgan for his work to pass legislation affirming indigenous rights and urging Eby to continue his efforts toward reconciliation.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, said the passage of the 2019 BC Declaration of Indigenous Rights Act would not have been possible without Horgan’s leadership.
Phillip said he and other indigenous leaders “enjoyed and fully supported Horgan” as prime minister, “appreciated his ability to bring people together” and connect with First Nations.
Despite the lack of agreement on some issues, such as the expansion of the liquefied natural gas industry and the preservation of old-growth forests, the union “remains proud of the joint work” that has been achieved, the statement said.
Horgan called passing the declaration one of his proudest accomplishments. Although he has two degrees in history, he said he didn’t know what boarding school was until he was in a gym full of survivors during a Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing.
He said he hoped the declaration would help transform the “unspeakable poverty” on many reservations created by the Indian Act.
Horgan was first elected to the legislature in 2005, was the acclaimed leader of the BC New Democrats in 2014, became premier in 2017 and won re-election in 2020. The following year, he successfully battled a second cancer diagnosis and announced in June that he would step down as premier and leader, but would remain a member of the legislature for Langford-Juan de Fuca.
This Canadian Press report was first published on November 17, 2022.
Amy Smart, Canadian Press
Outgoing BC Premier Horgan addresses provinces and premier to address health backlog
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