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‘It’s risky’: political pundits on snap election as Okanagan ridings scramble to secure candidates

NDP leader John Horgan announced an election for October 24 on Monday. Global News

It’s an election call that has many ridings scrambling to secure candidates.

“This is an appeal for people to consider running for the Greens,” Alison Shaw told Global News on Tuesday.

Shaw, who ran for the Green Party in Kelowna-Lake Country in 2017, said she is “beyond shocked” that NDP leader John Horgan made the election call for October 24 on Monday.

Read more: Why did B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan call an election during a pandemic?

“We’ve been collaborating with this government for the past number of years and we did not see this coming,” Shaw said.

“We’re feeling rather betrayed by this urgent election and I think the majority of the province’s residents should feel betrayed as well.”

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Shaw criticized Horgan for the decision, calling it nothing more than a power grab.

Click to play video: 'Decision BC: Day one on the campaign trail' Decision BC: Day one on the campaign trail
Decision BC: Day one on the campaign trail – Sep 22, 2020

“There was an opportunity,” she said.

“What we’re going to see is ministers out campaigning instead of doing their jobs in the legislature, which is very problematic . . . this is not what good governance looks like in the middle of a pandemic.”

Liberal candidate and incumbent Norm Letnick agreed, saying Horgan should have stuck to the fixed election date set for October 2021.

“He had a choice,” Letnick told Global News. “He could’ve gone the full term as he was totally able to do.

“He had the support of the Greens, he had a contract with them.”

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Read more: Snap election? What a pandemic vote could look like in B.C.

Letnick added the short notice Horgan gave British Columbians is bad for democracy.

“What you have now is a whole bunch of people who have to be appointed to represent their parties in all the different ridings,” Letnick said.

“You don’t have nomination races, you don’t have that groundswell of interest in politics that you get with nomination races.”

Political pundits have also weighed in, including Max Cameron, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia, who said the snap election call could backfire.

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Dr. Bonnie Henry on province’s safe voting plan during COVID-19 pandemic – Sep 22, 2020

“It is risky because when you call an election, if people don’t see a compelling need for an election, the public mood could shift against you pretty quickly,” Cameron said.

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“That’s what happened with John Turner. That’s what happened to David Peterson in Ontario. There’s a history of snap elections going in a different direction than anticipated by those who call them.”

Horgan cited stability as the main reason to head to the polls, but Cameron doesn’t buy it, given the support he had from the Greens.

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BCTF calls for schools to be excluded from polling stations – Sep 22, 2020

“He was arguing at the beginning of his government this agreement would provide stability and now he’s breaking the agreement,” he said.

“If there’s any instability here, it’s entirely of Horgan’s making.”

Global News reached out to NDP party headquarters multiple times on Tuesday.

Late in the afternoon, a spokesperson promised a response but that didn’t happen by publication time.

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