Horgan warns federal leaders their opponents may become colleagues next week

0
809

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement in Surrey, B.C., on September 4, 2018. British Columbia’s Premier John Horgan is warning the federal parties to play nice in the final leg of the 2019 election campaign. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER — With many projecting a Conservative- or Liberal-led minority government when ballots are counted next week, British Columbia’s Premier John Horgan is warning the federal parties to play nice in the final leg of the campaign.

Horgan, who leads a minority NDP government with Green support, offered the same advice he says his mom gave him: Once you burn a bridge you can’t cross it.

“My advice would be in these last days of this campaign, when often times rhetoric gets ahead of reality, that all political candidates of all political parties focus on talking about the positive initiatives they want to bring forward rather than condemning their opponents,” he said at a news conference in Vancouver on Thursday.

“The people you’re condemning today may well be your colleagues next week.”

Horgan found himself in a similar position in 2017, when his New Democrat team won 41 seats against the incumbent Liberals’ 43.

Despite having won fewer seats than the Liberals, the NDP won approval from the lieutenant-governor to form government after the party reached a power-sharing agreement with the Greens, who won three seats.

Horgan says his own team’s campaign became “relatively negative” in the lead-up to the 2017 vote but he’d encourage others not to close any doors.

Most polls continue to suggest the Liberals and Conservatives are deadlocked, raising talk about potential minority or coalition governments.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has said if he wins the most seats in Monday’s election, that would give him a mandate to govern.

But Canada’s parliamentary system means that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau could continue on as prime minister if there is a minority government and he can secure support from enough other MPs to win key votes.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Sunday he would “absolutely” consider a coalition with the Liberals to prevent Scheer from becoming prime minister.

Horgan said he has already fielded calls from other jurisdictions about his experience forming a minority government, including party leaders in New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

“Whoever has the opportunity and privilege to lead a government, I’m happy to help them,” Horgan said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2019