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B.C. government extends provincial state of emergency with ‘no end in sight’

B.C. having success against COVID-19, but state of emergency extended
Keith Baldrey reports on why, despite B.C. making progress against COVID-19, Premier John Horgan has extended the state of emergency.

The ongoing provincial state of emergency is now the longest in British Columbia’s history.

B.C. Premier John Horgan extended the emergency an additional two weeks on Wednesday in order to provide emergency powers to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we turn the dial up and increase our social and economic activity, it’s important to make sure that we don’t lose sight of the objectives that we as a province, collectively embarked upon some two months ago,” Horgan said.

B.C. officials ensure standard of care is maintained in long-term facilities during COVID-19 pandemic
B.C. officials ensure standard of care is maintained in long-term facilities during COVID-19 pandemic

The state of emergency is now assured to last at least 12 weeks. But Horgan is expecting it will continue beyond that.

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The premier told reporters on Wednesday there is “no likely end in sight” to the pandemic, even though the province is making significant progress.

This comes as the province continues to assess the easing of further restrictions.

“We don’t want to give up the ground we have made collectively and as individuals,” Horgan said.

B.C. premier on keeping U.S. border closed and supporting tourism in the province
B.C. premier on keeping U.S. border closed and supporting tourism in the province

Horgan also announced the B.C. legislature will be returning on June 22. MLAs will work both from the B.C. legislature in Victoria and virtually from their home communities.

Elected officials must pass a provincial budget and debate budget estimates for each ministry. There are also expected to be Question Periods where Horgan says he’d understand if “a partisan rock or two are thrown in the weeks ahead.”

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“Some will be here in person, some will be beaming in with technology, but at the end of the day debate will take place, votes will be cast, and democracy will be well served,” Horgan said.