OPINION: No clear need to call an election

Earlier this week I was doing my rounds at school farms in Delta and one of the classes I work with came out for a walk around the school.

Led by the teacher, the grade 2 and 3 students skipped along attempting to social distance as best they could. They were all happy to see me and briefly told me about vegetables they have been eating over the summer and what they would like to do with the food growing on their farm.

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They were smiling and laughing and generally happy to be outside. It was a surreal experience though. The air was thick with smoke and the smiling faces made me feel sad for them in the moment. The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, raging fires and political and social unrest in the United States paint a bleak moment in time unlike anything we have ever encountered. Commentators of late have described the combination of so many ills as apocalyptic.

Combine all that with our local economic woes, homelessness in Vancouver and elsewhere and affordable housing for young people and can see how some people, including me, suffer from periodic depression. I am particularly concerned for people in their 20s and 30s, many of whom share their sense of hopelessness on the airwaves and through social media channels.

COVID-19 has certainly hamstrung all levels of government in solving many fundamental societal needs and the future is not as clear as it once was. Despite this gloom and need for strong government, there are rumours of a snap election call by the NDP government. A string of announcements this week would seem to support this.

Premier Horgan may attempt to capitalize on his approval rating which has surged 34 per cent since COVID-19 began. I get his political advantage here but beyond that there is no clear need to call an election, as there are pressing issues that need to be dealt with by government, minority or otherwise.

Former Premier Ujjal Dosanjh, when asked if we would call a snapelection in this setting said no he would not. The fragile NDP/Green alliance may well be over and newly elected Green leader Sonia Furstenau has said that she and the greens are against a snap election as is Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson. Additionally, three NDP cabinetministers have announced that they will not run for re-election.

Given that voter turnout will likely be lower than average if this scenario pans out, a snap election seems like a cheap shot for political gain when focus should be directed to solving a few pressing matters that need thoughtful consideration from government.

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