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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Zuzana Riha’s last exhibition at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre was in October 2018. She has another coming up in November 2020. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke gallery exhibition opening coming Nov. 5

The November show will feature Zuzana Riha in the main gallery

Snowfall in the Okanagan shatters records. (Contributed)
Snowfall in Okanagan breaks records dated back to 1899

Penticton has received over 10 cm today, surpassing the 8 cm record set in 1957

A map of the proposed location for the temporary workforce camp in Johnson Heights that is subject to a Temporary Use Permit from the city. (City of Revelstoke)
Resort asks for support on proposed temporary workforce housing

Peter Nielsen says application for permanent staff accommodation coming forward next week

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Most Read