B.C. Premier John Horgan’s time in politics is coming to an end.
At a media briefing Tuesday afternoon, Horgan announced that he will resign as the province’s premier and won’t run again as an MLA in the next provincial election, which is scheduled to take place in October 2024 but could happen sooner.
“This has been the thrill of my life to be the Premier of British Columbia,” Horgan said at Tuesday’s media briefing, which was held following a cabinet retreat in Vancouver.
Horgan announced last week that he was cancer-free following 35 radiation treatments for throat cancer. He said Tuesday that upon much reflection with his wife and family, the time has come to step down.
“We came to the conclusion that I am not able to make another six-year commitment to this job,” he said, later adding that while he is cancer-free and his health is good, his “energy flags” as the days go by.
Rumours have swirled about whether Horgan would run again as premier after he didn’t issue an outright “no” when asked about his future by Gregor Cragie on CBC Radio’s On The Island last week. On Tuesday, Horgan said the time had come to put those rumours to bed and move on to issues that matter to British Columbians.
“There has been endless speculation as a result of my recent battle with cancer about what my plans would be. I want to put the speculation to rest so we can get back to what really matters and that is the issues before British Columbians,” he said. “This has never been about me.”
Horgan has been premier since 2017 after the BC Liberals failed to win a majority resulting in a supply and confidence agreement with the Green Party that resulted in an NDP minority government. He said that throughout his time as premier, he’s always tried to make “life better” for all British Columbians.
“I’ve tried to make my leadership a statement about the strength of my colleagues and our ability to work collaboratively to get good outcomes for the people we represent,” he said. “That’s my way, that’s how I roll.”
The past few days have been a whirlwind for Horgan, who in addition to announcing he was cancer-free also announced that the B.C. government was cancelling a proposed $789-million rebuild of the Royal BC Museum. Horgan said throughout his time that there have been good days and bad and that it has been an honour to serve British Columbians.
“Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, British Columbia, it has truly been the thrill of my life. I’ve done my best to not let you down,” he said. “There have been days when things have gone well and there have been days that things didn’t go well. That’s the nature of the human condition and I am honoured to have had the opportunity.”
While Horgan’s approval rating recently hit a two-year low according to a poll released by Angus Reid, the premier is still the third-most-popular provincial leader in Canada. Horgan stressed Tuesday that he will remain as premier until the NDP chooses a new leader.
“I will be the premier tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that,” he said.
Horgan was first elected as an MLA in 2005.