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

Just Posted

Items seized over four days of targeted vehicle checks Nanaimo and Victoria by members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC photo)
Gang enforcement team seizes drugs and weapons in Nanaimo and Victoria

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. checked 33 vehicles over four days

(Citizen file)
Hooch the pooch saved from icy Cowichan River

Cowichan Search and Rescue swiftwater team called in to retrieve stranded dog from sandbar

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said financial penalties for council members found to be engaging in bad behaviour is a good deterrent. (File photo)
North Cowichan council members face financial ding for bad behaviour

Penalties under new code of conduct mean partial loss of salary for mayor and councillors

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical health officer, immunizes Victoria Schmid, Island Health���s vice-president of pandemic planning. (Submitted photo)
Island Health: Can’t wait for a COVID vaccine? Get a flu shot in the meantime

“We’re in a pandemic, and we can’t afford to have dual viral infections.”

HarbourCats players celebrate winning the North Division Championship Series in 2019. (Christian J. Stewart/File Photo)
Victoria HarbourCats locked out of team Facebook page

Management hires legal team to solve issue

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are looking for help from the public to identify the driver of a vehicle after a hit and run in Duncan on Oct. 22, 2020. (File photo)
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP looking for driver after man hit in crosswalk

The hit and run is reported to have taken place on Thursday, Oct. 22

The boil water advisory came into effect Oct. 21, 2020.
Boil water advisory continues for Alert Bay

Coliform levels could indicate the presence of a pathogen

Nanaimo RCMP patch
Domestic violence on the rise in Port Alberni

COVID-19 still affecting domestic violence stats, says Alberni RCMP’s top cop

The entrance to the Port Hardy aquatic centre. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Port Hardy to ‘revitalize’ old aquatic centre for $8.5 million

‘If everything goes as planned, there will be no tax increase to cover our portion of the costs’

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Most Read