John Horgan will be first Victoria-based premier in 84 years


WATCH: Premier-designate John Horgan will make history as the first Vancouver Island-born premier representing an Island riding in more than eight decades. Tess van Straaten reports.

Walking up to the B.C. legislature on his first day as premier-designate Friday, John Horgan can’t hide his excitement.

“Help is on the way!” Horgan said.

“I think to have an Islander in the premier’s office will be good for British Columbia and good for the Island.”

After a tumultuous seven weeks and a risky power play that paid off, Horgan will go down in the history books as one of just three premiers born and raised in Victoria.

“I always wear that as a badge of honour and I’m excited to be able to bring back government to the Lower Island,” Horgan said. “We’ve had premiers for decades now from the Lower Mainland.”

Several premiers from Victoria ridings occupied the premier’s office in the early days, but only two premiers in history have been born in Victoria. It’s been 84 years since a premier born in Victoria and representing a Greater Victoria riding has held office.

That premier was Saanich MLA Simon Fraser Tolmie, who was premier from 1928 to 1933.

Boss Johnson, who left office 65 years ago, was the other premier born in Victoria but he represented New Westminster.

“Being the capital city, premiers get to know Victoria but it’s fundamentally different if you’re born and raised here,” Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Catherine Holt said.

Holt is hopeful a Victoria premier, Island cabinet ministers and all three Green MLAs being from the Island will mean key local issues like affordability and transportation will get attention.

“All of the critical factors with regard to this incoming government are Island-based so we will be very influential,” Holt said.

As Horgan gets ready to take on the province’s top job, he says he’s committed to doing just that.

“We have an abundance of very capable MLAs from the Island that will now be sitting on the government side so a whole host of issues that I believe haven’t moved as quickly as they could have will get addressed now,” Horgan said.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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