Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson bottle feeds a calf during a campaign stop at Nicomekl Farms in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. A provincial election will be held in British Columbia on Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson bottle feeds a calf during a campaign stop at Nicomekl Farms in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. A provincial election will be held in British Columbia on Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Pandemic election prompts voter suppression claims by B.C. Liberals

‘These emergencies require in us a maturity that has been lacking in politics for so long’

The British Columbia Liberals are accusing the NDP of taking advantage of the pandemic to suppress votes in the dying days of the election, while the Green leader is urging residents not to vote out of fear.

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson defended a news release put out by his party that says it has serious concerns about the motive behind NDP Leader John Horgan’s election call “that is suppressing voter turnout and putting those that do vote at risk.”

Wilkinson said Tuesday that Horgan’s selfishness to call the election during the pandemic shouldn’t override the democratic right to get out to vote.

When asked if he would question the final results, Wilkinson said “absolutely not,” adding that Elections BC has been acting with the highest degree of professionalism to protect voters’ rights.

“I think the problem is John Horgan’s selfish ambition in calling this election while we’re going in the second wave of the pandemic. That’s just irresponsible. It didn’t need to happen and it should not have happened,” Wilkinson said.

Horgan responded by saying he doesn’t know what Wilkinson is talking about when it comes to voter suppression.

“I don’t know what planet Mr. Wilkinson’s living on,” Horgan said while campaigning in North Vancouver. “Almost 500,000 people have already participated in advance voting,” he said, adding more than 700,000 mail-in ballots have been requested.

“There’s a lot of interest in this election campaign. There’s no effort whatsoever to suppress. Quite the contrary. We want to ensure that as many people participate as possible.”

Horgan met with local nurses while in North Vancouver after campaigning in Coquitlam, where he pushed his health-care plans for spending $2.3 billion for construction of hospitals and the hiring of 7,000 workers.

The NDP leader said that when his party took office in 2017, nine of 10 care homes did not have enough staff to meet the minimum hours for care, which would change under his leadership.

On a campaign stop at a dairy farm in Surrey, B.C., Wilkinson said his status as a medical doctor would be helpful in the premier’s office in talking to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry about the best way to take action on COVID-19 going forward.

“When we see a wide range of different approaches toward the pandemic around the world, I like to think that somebody with an MD like me can look into that and say, ‘What’s the best for B.C.,’ and work with Dr. Henry to see what’s the best for B.C.”

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said Henry’s statement Monday that B.C. was in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was scary to hear, especially as schools and businesses remain open and fall weather means it’s harder to stay outside.

Furstenau released her party’s platform on pandemic economic recovery in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, a riding she said the Greens could win, according to the party’s numbers.

When asked about the call by some to unite the progressive vote behind the NDP and away from the Greens, Furstenau said the best thing progressives could do now is ensure there are Green members in the legislature.

She said she’s weary of political parties telling the electorate to vote for them out of fear when they should vote out of inspiration or hope.

The pandemic, the overdose crisis and a climate emergency give British Columbians enough to be afraid of, she said.

“These emergencies require in us a maturity that has been lacking in politics for so long. That maturity means we put aside partisanship on the other side of elections and we sit down and we do the work and we move the solutions out and we get to the job we’re elected to do.”

The Green plan to help small businesses through the pandemic includes a rent subsidy program and urgent support for small tourism operators.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon is getting in the Christmas spirit with many homes decorating with lights and extras. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Christmas lights tour mapped out by Vernon realtor

More than 20 of the community’s best lit houses make up annual tradition

The video was used for (KGH Foundation - YouTube)
Okanagan filmmaker, poet win at L.A. Film Awards

Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan wrote and filmmaker David Nault produced the commercial

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

The roof is rising at the Okanagan Wealth Advisors Pickleball Complex at Marshall Field (Nov. 30, 2020). (Contributed)
Raising the roof over Vernon Pickleball courts

Upon completion, Vernon will be home to country’s biggest dedicated Pickleball courts

Join Rob Dinwoodie and bandmates for a Cowboy Christmas, Dec. 11 and 12 at Vernon and District Performing Arts Center. Seating is cabaret style on the stage for an intimate concert. (Contributed)
Vernon cowboys go virtual for Christmas

Cowboy Christmas streamed Dec. 11-25

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Salmon Arm RCMP say some patrons have been harassing local businesses over mask requirements. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Police urge respect after Salmon Arm businesses report being harassed over mask rules

Wearing of masks in businesses and public spaces is currently mandated by the province

Salmon Arm RCMP officers attended two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28.  (File photo)
Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Sunny the cat, who jumped out of the truck at the Revelstoke Landfill earlier this month, was quickly reunited with his owners. (Contributed)
Cat returns home with the help of two landfill workers

Sunny jumped out of the truck at the landfill in November

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Most Read