Ballots went hand-in-hand with sanitization, floor markings, and masks as New Brunswick became the first Canadian province Monday to hold a general election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And there is increasing speculation that British Columbia might follow suit.

Premier John Horgan continued to sidestep the speculation at a press conference today.

“I realize what I say will either stoke or dampen speculation but I just have answered this question many many times, we’ve always been ready for an election campaign and I’m just going to keep working until that time arrives,” he said.

Fueling the speculation today were announcements from two prominent NDP MLAs, Scott Fraser and Doug Donaldson, that they won’t be seeking reelection.

“One doesn’t need to read the tea leaves, these are very ordinary forms of evidence one looks at in terms of is a government going to stay or go?” said David Black, professor at Royal Roads School of Communication and Culture.

Also on Monday, the B.C. Green Party took one step closer to being ready for an election, voting in Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau as its new leader.

READ MORE: Member of the legislature Sonia Furstenau elected B.C. Green leader

Furstenau quickly made it clear where she stands on the snap election issue.

“As the spectre of a completely unnecessary, irresponsible early election in the middle of a pandemic is being contemplated simply because it might benefit one party’s political fortunes, to John Horgan I say you have a responsibility to govern, not play politics,” she said.

Those feelings were echoed by the leader of the BC Liberals.

“When John Horgan wants an election to help out his own future you have to ask, who does that?” said BC Liberal party leader Andrew Wilkinson.

Black says Horgan may argue he needs a strong mandate to shape a post-COVID future for the province but says that strategy could be highly risky.

“It’s politics versus pandemic and it’s political opportunity versus the possibility of this being seen as political opportunism,” he said.

Black says he doubts any election will be called in B.C. before next week’s throne speech in Ottawa.

April Lawrence