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Meet John Horgan, MLA, Juan De Fuca

Mr. Horgan is my MLA in the riding of Juan De Fuca, a geographically large riding that encompasses City, suburban and rural areas.  John is also the NDP energy critic.  You can read his bio here .
Over the years, as I became politically aware, I have been writing letters to politicians.  My Federal and Provincial representatives, Ministers and their opposition critics, the Premier and Prime Minister and editors of every publication I read.  One politician that never fails to reply with a personal, thoughtful reply is John Horgan.  If you write alot of letters to elected politicians, you know how rare it is to ever hear from them, other than the odd form response from the staff.
With all the turmoil in BC politics recently, I decided to ask John a few key questions.  I thought some of you might appreciate his response.
Hi John,

I appreciate that this may be a bad time, but I have a couple of questions for you.  I understand that you may consider the leadership of the NDP.  In light of this, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify a couple of things.

Would you, as leader of the NDP, call for a public inquiry into the BC Rail transfer, the RCMP investigation and the (mis)trial?

Would you restore BC Hydro as a public asset?  Would you restore the BCUC?  BC Ferries?

Would you restore the arms-length status of Elections BC?

Would you reconsider the 20 year RCMP contract?

Would you restore the bank tax?

Would you raise corporate tax?

Would you suspend P3′s until a forensic audit is completed on Sea-to-Sky and SFPR?

I am willing to join the party and contribute accordingly if you run on these issues John, I have faith in you as your service to your constituents has proven.  I will publish your responses if its okay with you.

With gratitude for your work,

The following day, under 24 hours, I received his reply,
Hi Kim
Long list.
BC Rail inquiry–Yes.
I chuckled hearing Christy Clark speak of a Family Focus to her campaign and then denounce a public inquiry into Liberal corruption. Clearly, she is focused on ensuring he family doesn’t have to testify.
Support public power– Yes
Restore BCUC independence–Yes
Support public Ferry system–need more information about how much damage has been done by David Hahn and the Liberals. As a born and raised Islander I understand the importance of our ferry system and see it as part of our public transportation network.
On taxes– we need a Fair Tax commission to review our competitiveness with other jurisdictions and most importantly, review our ability to pay. Fees, health premiums, hydro rates, how much can regular people afford? People do not trust government to use taxes wisely, but expect services to be adequately funded. This is the essence of government. Raise money, provide services. We will have more to say on taxation and resource rents as we get closer to the election, but without a good look at the real state of the Provinces books it is impossible to say. I put the question to you: do you believe a word Colin Hansen says? Didn’t think so.
I have no view on the RCMP. Ask Farnworth.
On P3s, like IPP contracts, we need to look closely at the terms. If they are not in the public interest they should be scrapped. Government should be driven by the public good not the interests of private wealth.
You asked complicated questions and I replied with simple answers. Clearly more thought and coordination is required. Ultimately I believe our platform must be focused and practical. That is a collective responsibility and not just what you or I would like to see.
As to me and the NDP leadership, I can tell you that my health is good – two years and cancer free- and my heart seems willing. Whether I fit the peacemaker role internally in the NDP is still another question. I plan to continue talking to people and keep working on the things that are important to our community and see what the new year brings.
What we must do is unite and defeat the Liberals. That means working harder than we ever have and uniting in common purpose. Not just me, you and others across the range of ideas and thought must put aside perfection and work together to form a government. Anything short of that means four more hopeless years of suffering in communities across our province.
I was impressed by the last paragragh about working harder than we ever have and uniting to defeat the Liberals.  It’s not about power, it’s not about perfection, it’s about working together.  Recently, Horgan has been published in the Times Colonist about the Hydro rate hikes.  He speaks the truth and he knows his portfolio well.  Please read.
On Mega Ministries and lame duck Premiers…Time to shelve the “Super Ministry”, (from facebook, notes, Dec.09/10)


VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberal government should shelve their plans to merge the natural resource ministries at least until a new premier is in place, say the New Democrats.

One of the last acts of Gordon Campbell was to throw the forestry, environment, mining and energy ministries into chaos with a senseless reorganization.

“All B.C. Liberal leadership hopefuls should stand up today and commit to undoing the damage done by the disastrous plan to create the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations,” said New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming.

“Merging forestry with mining and putting elements of environment, forestry, energy, agriculture and mines into this so called ‘super ministry’ has put the operations of those ministries in chaos. It’s not good for industries and it’s not good for the land base.”

Under the B.C. Liberals, the forest service alone lost more than 1,000 jobs, resulting in a significant drop in services.

Energy and mines critic John Horgan said the plan was done without consultation with key stakeholders or, as ousted MLA Bill Bennett noted, with involved ministers.

“This restructuring was done by a premier on his way out the door, without any real plan,” said Horgan. “This was ill-advised from the start, and leadership means admitting a mistake and undoing it as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible.

“Merging these ministries without a clear plan will just lead to more chaos on the land base, not less,” said Horgan.

A recent report by noted forestry expert Ben Parfitt detailed the dramatic problems caused by the B.C. Liberal forest policy. Parfitt questioned whether the government was capable of addressing “the immense challenges that lie ahead in managing B.C.’s publicly owned forests” and called on the restructuring to be brought to a halt.

“There’s no longer any question that these changes have severely impaired ministry staff from doing their jobs of ensuring effective resource management,” said Fleming. “The only question that remains is whether the B.C. Liberals have the courage to recognize a bad decision – and commit to fixing it before the damage is irreparable.”

The B.C. New Democrats have proposed an environmental plan that would reinvest carbon tax revenue in transit and climate change initiatives, create green jobs, and offer legislated protection for species at risk.

I emailed him about Elections BC and my concerns about the CEO there.  He dug into the issue and got back to me with correspondance between himself and Craig James.  I wrote about it here .
We discussed the HST.  Funny story.  On my very first day of canvassing during the FightHST campaign, the very first door I knocked on was John Horgan’s.  He grinned widely when he saw my clipboard and I asked if he wanted to sign he replied that he’d already signed it and was registered to collect signatures as well.  I offered to start my campaign elsewhere, thinking he might want the chance to talk to the neighbourhood, but he waved me on.  “Go ahead”‘ he said,”have fun!”  I did.  And every house I went to signed the petition eagerly except one.  I emailed him anyway for his stance on the HST, when everyone was wringing their hands and wondering where the NDP stand on the issue.  Here is where they stand.
Hi Kim
Our plan for the HST is to get the committee to put the Bill to a vote this fall and ditch the tax now rather than leave it to the distant future.
Assuming the Fibs vote the Bill down and do not proceed to a referendum, our platform at the next election would include giving notice to the Feds the we would wind down the HST at the end of the 5 year term or sooner if negotiations proved effective.
The Conservatives need to feel the heat on this as well.  Every time Harper thinks of BC he should be reminded that he is on the wrong side of this issue.
That is the position we have taken from the beginning.  Kill it now before small businesses and consumers are hit too hard.  Better to stop a failed experiment after two months than continue to harm the economy and anger voters. If they insist on ignoring the public, an NDP government – three years from now – would advise Ottawa that the deal is not in the public interest and then take steps to correct the policy blunder.  That is our position as I understand it.
Now three years is an awfully long time.  Our platform will reflect the times in 2012-13.  I cannot predict what the world will look like at that time.  But our plan today is to follow the steps I have outlined. The reason for that is very simple. Politicians promising what they can’t deliver does nothing to restore public confidence.  Obama said he would close Guantonamo Bay, Chretien said he would kill the GST. Both are still in place.  The Liberals have signed a five year deal and taken a huge amount of  blood money to seal it.  Based on my experience as a former senior government official, it will not be as easy to undue as we would all hope. But certainly not impossible as the Liberals and the editorial boards like to tell us.
We will make our best effort to fix the screw up and the public will judge us on the results. That seems to me to be a practical solution to a complex problem.
That’s John Horgan for you, a practical solution to a complex problem.  Indeed.

2 comments to Meet John Horgan, MLA, Juan De Fuca

  • Oemissions

    good to hear that you approve of him and to learn something about him
    makes me want to attend some of his campaign presentations and ask some questions

  • Kim

    Oemissions, thanks for reading. I encourage you to ask your questions to Horgan, and share the replies with us.