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'He truly loves people': Tri-Cities MLAs react to John Horgan's decision to step down

All four provincial politicians represent the BC NDP. Will one of them choose to run for party leadership when the time comes?

John Horgan is set to step down as leader of the BC NDP after eight years in the top orange seat — five of which were spent as premier.

On Tuesday (June 28), Horgan announced he will not seek re-election in 2024 and will remain as premier until a new leader is elected this fall.

The Tri-Cities is home to four MLAs, all NDP members, who have worked with Horgan for many years.

The question is: Could any one of them take up the mantle as party leader and premier?

Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth is currently the deputy premier, as well as public safety minister and solicitor general. If he were to run for the position, the transition would likely be a smooth one.

Same with Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson, currently B.C.'s finance minister.

However, neither have indicated an interest in throwing their hat in the ring.

Both politicians credited Horgan for his dedication to provincial government and for his support in their own careers.

"John has been so successful because he truly loves people," said Farnworth. "He’s the best coach and has built a strong team that will continue the work to deliver for people."

"Thank you [John Horgan]. For your leadership, your steady hand and your commitment to British Columbia," wrote Robinson in a post on social media. "We have all benefitted because of your time as Premier."

Fin Donnelly is the "newbie" of the region after his election in 2020, despite having previously served as a Tri-Cities MP for 10 years (2009-2019) and was named parliamentary secretary for fisheries and aquaculture under Horgan.

The Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MLA believes Horgan's retirement will be well-deserved.

"Thank you John for your decades of service to the people of B.C. and for leading us through the most challenging times in recent memory," Donnelly said in a statement to the Tri-City News.

"Your compassion and resilience continues to bring people together. You remind us of the importance of putting people first. Now you and Ellie can start enjoying life."

Donnelly did not give any indication when asked if he's considering a run for BC NDP leadership.

Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Rick Glumac also wished Horgan a happy retirement.

"We've been though so much as a province since then and John has guided us through it all with great leadership and humanity."

After two bouts of cancer — throat cancer in 2021 and bladder cancer in 2008, along with a recent case of COVID-19 — Horgan told reporters yesterday his energy is flagging.

After talking to his wife, Ellie, and colleagues, Horgan said he came to the conclusion that he’s "not able to make another six-year commitment to this job." 

He said he has asked the president of the BC NDP to work with the party’s governing body and executive to select a fall date for a leadership convention. The next provincial election must be held by October 2024. 

"This has been the thrill of my life to be the premier of British Columbia," said Horgan.

Horgan led the NDP to a minority government in 2017 via an agreement with the Green Party then won a majority in a snap election in October 2020. 

- with files from Cindy E. Harnett, Times Colonist