The premiere of British Columbia has announced that he will not seek a third term but will remain on the job until the provincial NDP can choose his successor.
John Horgan confirmed his plans at a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Vancouver, following a two-day government retreat in which the party discussed everything from climate change to the struggling health care system.
The premiere said he made the difficult decision to step back during a recent walk on the beach with his wife Ellie, where they reflected on his recent battle with cancer.
When he saw otters spraying offshore, Horgan said he was reminded that “playing a little more, a little less work is probably not a bad idea.”
“I have to reflect now on what to do with the summers ahead of me,” he said.
Horgan was diagnosed with cancer last November, months after he discovered a lump in his throat, and he underwent 35 rounds of radiation before completing his treatment in January.
The 62-year-old, who had a previous battle with bladder cancer in 2008, said he has found himself with less energy since returning to work.
“My health is good, but my energy is flaking as the days go by,” the premiere said.
The BC NDP is expected to hold a leadership convention to select Horgan’s successor this fall. The prime minister stressed that his work will continue until then, but said he can not commit to another six years leading the province.
“This has been the excitement of my life to be the premiere of British Columbia, and I will be the premiere of British Columbia tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that,” Horgan said.
“There has been endless speculation, as a result of my recent battle with cancer, about what my plans would be. I want to put the speculation to rest so we can return to what really matters.”
On the way into Tuesday’s announcement, political scientists suggested that there has been no outside pressure for Horgan to resign, and that the decision to do so would likely be his alone.
While the provincial government has faced significant challenges, from affordable prices to a shortage of GPs, a recent Angus Reid Institute poll showed that Horgan remains one of the most popular prime ministers in the country – despite his approval rating falling to the lowest level in years.
Last week, Horgan took full responsibility for the controversy surrounding the replacement of the Royal BC Museum, which was met with significant setbacks over its estimated $ 789 million price tag, and announced that the government was suspending the project.
Experts speculated that the prime minister’s decision could have been designed to spare an obstacle for the NDP’s next leader.
“I have talked about the need for generational change in our policies, not just within the NDP, but indeed within all of our political institutions,” Horgan said Tuesday. “We need to make room for the next generation to bring their energy and their ideas forward.”
Horgan came to power in 2017, when the NDP formed the province’s first minority government since 1952, thanks to a trust and supply agreement with the BC Green Party.
Featuring files from CTV News Vancouver’s Bhinder Sajan and Kendra Mangione