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

Signs up at Hope Secondary School inform visitors that the school is a closed campus during the coronavirus pandemic. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Second COVID-19 exposure at Hope Secondary School

Fraser Health website lists exposure on Nov. 11 and 12

New Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust.
Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust in the mix for Swiss U20 roster spot

Fust is hoping to make the team that will compete in the World Junior Hockey Championships

An employee at a Chilliwack McDonald’s location tested positive for COVID on Nov. 21 (File photo by The Associated Press)
Employee tests positive for COVID-19 at McDonald’s restaurant in Chilliwack

One case was detected at the Vedder Road location, which briefly closed its doors

Contributed graphic/District of Kent
Snow Angels seek volunteers

As winter is coming, volunteer shovelers are wanted

Cascade Falls Regional Park is one of several Fraser Valley parks that saw record usage during the summer of 2020. (File photo)
Residents flock to Fraser Valley parks amid pandemic

Some trails saw usage double during summer months of 2020

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Most Read