Former British Columbia Prime Minister John Horgan is retiring from politics

Former BC Premier John Horgan is pictured in Vancouver on June 18, 2019.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - photo credit)

Former BC Premier John Horgan is pictured in Vancouver on June 18, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC – photo credit)

Former BC Prime Minister John Horgan intends to fully withdraw from provincial politics starting next month and to deliver a farewell speech in Parliament on Thursday after decades in public service.

Horgan, 63, will leave his post as MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca on Vancouver Island in March.

“I’m so lucky to have this opportunity… How could I be so lucky?” he said during an emotional address to the BC Legislature.

“I loved every minute of it and that’s all I can say.”

Horgan has not specifically announced his intention to step down in the chamber on Thursday. Otherwise it would be effective immediately. A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office later confirmed to CBC News that he intends to leave in March, with Horgan later musing that he could make March 17 – St Patrick’s Day – his last.

Open to job offers from Canucks, Trudeau

Last year, Horgan began his exit from politics by resigning as Prime Minister after being treated for throat cancer. He originally said he would continue to serve as an MLA until the end of his term next fall.

During his speech on Thursday, he announced that he was cancer-free, to applause from his colleagues.

“I’m healthy,” he told lawmakers, thanking the doctors, nurses and other professionals who took care of him.

CLOCK | Horgan on what’s next:

In a scrum held after his speech, Horgan said leaving BC politics didn’t necessarily mean the end of his public life.

“I still have work to do,” he jokingly told reporters, “[Vancouver Canucks owner] Franceso Aquilini could call me.”

More seriously, he reiterated his offer to act as mediator for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s prime minister when it comes to negotiations on health care — or anything else he might be useful for.

“The Prime Minister was very kind to me [and] If there’s anything I should do for him, I would definitely consider it.”

CLOCK | John Horgan announces his retirement from BC politics:

Honors from colleagues

Horgan was replaced by Prime Minister David Eby in November.

“You’ve been our coach, you’ve been our captain, supportive, encouraging, direct, just unpredictable at times, but most of all I want to thank you so much,” said Eby, getting a standing ovation for Horgan in the chamber.

“Thanks to [Horgan’s wife,] Ellie, thank you to your family for giving John to the people of British Columbia… I am so humbled by the shoes I have to fill.

Opposition House Speaker Todd Stone also rose to thank Horgan for his service.

“You look really good and we’re very grateful for that,” Stone said, referring to Horgan’s health. “We wish you and your family nothing but good health, good luck with Ellie and your boys in the months and years to come.

“John from Langford: All British Columbians thank you for your love for our province, your commitment to serving your people the best and thank you for always doing your best,” Stone concluded.

Longest-serving NDP Premier in BC history

Horgan became the only two-term prime minister in the history of BC’s New Democratic Party after winning a crucial second term in snap elections in 2020 in the first year of the pandemic.

During this second term, he became the longest-serving NDP Premier in provincial history.

Horgan began his career in politics in the 1990s as a legislative assistant, working in a range of political capacities in several departments before winning his first term as an MLA in 2005 in what was then known as riding Malahat-Juan de Fuca .

From 2014 to 2017 he was the leader of the opposition.


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