Former B.C. premier John Horgan intends to fully retire from provincial politics as of next month, delivering a farewell speech in the legislature Thursday after decades of public service.
Horgan, 63, will be leaving his post as MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca on Vancouver Island in March.
“I’m so fortunate to have this opportunity…. How did I get to be so lucky?” he said during an emotional address to the B.C. Legislature.
“I’ve loved every minute of it, and I can’t say any more than that.”
Horgan did not explicitly announce his intent to step down inside the chamber on Thursday. Otherwise, it would be effective immediately. A spokesperson with the premier’s office later confirmed to CBC News he intends to leave in March, with Horgan later musing he might make March 17 — St. Patrick’s Day — his final one.
Open to job offers from Canucks, Trudeau
Last year, Horgan began his exit from politics by stepping down as premier following treatment for throat cancer. He had initially said he would continue to serve as an MLA until the end of his term next fall.
During his speech Thursday he announced he was cancer-free, to applause from his colleagues.
“I’m healthy,” he told the legislature, thanking the doctors, nurses and other professionals who looked after him.
In a scrum held after his speech, Horgan said while he was leaving B.C. politics, that didn’t necessarily mean the end of his public life.
“I’ve got more to do,” he told reporters, joking, “[Vancouver Canucks owner] Franceso Aquilini might call me.”
More seriously, he reiterated his offer to act as an intermediary for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s premiers when it comes to negotiating on the topic of health care — or anything else he may be useful for.
“The Prime Minister has been very kind to me [and] if there is something that he needs me to do, I’d certainly consider that.”
Tributes from colleagues
Horgan was succeeded by Premier David Eby in November.
“You’ve been our coach, you’ve been our captain, supportive, encouraging, direct, only sometimes unpredictable, but above everything else, I want to say thank you so much,” Eby said, rising in the chamber after a standing ovation for Horgan.
“Thank you to [Horgan’s wife,] Ellie, thank you to your family for giving John to the people of British Columbia … I’m so humbled by the shoes that I have to fill.”
Opposition House Leader Todd Stone also rose to thank Horgan for his service.
“You really are looking good, and we’re so very grateful for that,” said Stone, referring to Horgan’s health. “We wish nothing but great health for you and your family, much happiness with Ellie and your boys in the months and years ahead.
“John from Langford: all British Columbians thank you for your love of our province, your commitment to serving its people best, and thank you for always doing your level best,” Stone concluded.
Longest-serving NDP premier in B.C. history
Horgan became the only two-term premier in the history of B.C.’s New Democratic party after winning a decisive second term in a snap election during the first year of the pandemic in 2020.
During that second term, he became the longest-serving NDP premier in provincial history.
Horgan began his career in politics as a legislative assistant in the 1990s, working in a number of policy roles across several ministries before winning his first term as an MLA in what was then known as the riding of Malahat-Juan de Fuca in 2005.
He served as Leader of the Opposition from 2014 to 2017.