B.C. NDP leader John Horgan speaks by video from Vancouver to delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, Sept. 24, 2020. (UBCM)

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan called a surprise election on the first day of the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, leaving him in the awkward position of assuring delegates that its main function is vital to the province’s business.

The main function is “speed dating,” hundreds of short meetings between local politicians and cabinet ministers to explain local needs for housing, forestry, education or health care. But all those NDP ministers automatically stepped down as the UBCM convention opened Monday and either retired or began campaigning to win their seats again.

A spokesman for Horgan said meetings with cabinet ministers were set up online the previous week as part of the arrangements for the virtual convention.

Horgan delivered the traditional UBCM-closing speech reserved for premiers Sept. 24, via video from Vancouver to more than 1,000 delegates who participated remotely because of COVID-19 public health restrictions.

He described chance meetings in his travels around B.C. with Vanderhoof councillor Brian Frenkel and others, some of which led to new facilities like a primary care centre in the small community west of Prince George.

“I see UBCM as a great opportunity to have those dialogues,” Horgan said. “I know, year after year it feels like speed dating. You have your 15 minutes with the minister. And I want to tell you that as a former public servant, this is critically important to the professional public service.”

RELATED: ‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments say

RELATED: B.C. Greens leader blasts Horgan’s election at UBCM

Before Horgan’s speech, Frenkel accepted the role of UBCM president for the next year, taking over from Sooke Mayor Maja Tait. Frenkel gave a hint of how the sudden election call turned the convention upside down.

“I would not have known how much energy it took for UBCM staff to put this convention on,” Frenkel said in his acceptance speech. “It is an amazing thing to have an election called on a Monday, and for staff to put this together and fill the holes in the program that that election gave us.”

Instead of the traditional post-convention media scrum to discuss issues raised at the convention, Horgan’s video chat was mainly devoted to answering friendly questions from Burnaby councillor Sav Dhaliwal, a former UBCM president.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada has issued a snow warning for the Kootenays on Friday. File photo
Environment Canada issues snow warning for Friday

Two-to-10 centimetres is expected to fall

Kootenay West Candidates (L to R) Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green), Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent, Ed Varney (Independent).
Q&A with Kootenay West candidates: Opioid crisis

Seventh in a series of Q&As with the candidates, look for a new set each morning.

Touchstones Museum has opened up Nelson’s Cold War bunker to the public. The unique exhibit includes artifacts from the 1950s and 60s. Photo: Tyler Harper
Take cover! Cold War bunker opens to public in Nelson

The shelter was built in 1964 in case of nuclear fallout

(L-R) Kazia Hopp, Colby Mackintosh, Hunter Guidon and Russdale Carungui installed the solar panels. Photo: Nakusp Secondary School
Students install 280 solar panels at two SD 10 schools

The panels will help the schools save on their electrical costs

Kootenay West Candidates (L to R) Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green), Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent, Ed Varney (Independent).
Q&A with Kootenay West candidates: Child care

Sixth in a series of Q&As with the candidates, look for a new set each morning.

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Jack Vellutini, 100, is still making sweet music. Photo: Submitted
Music stirs memories as Trail serenader nears 101st birthday

Jack Vellutini gave his brass instruments to Trail up-and-comers so the legacy of music can live on

BC ELECTION
B.C. political leaders reflect on rural health care as election looms

NDP leader John Horgan, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson talk health care priorities in the Kootenays

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Most Read