John Horgan, Premier of B.C. and leader of the B.C. NDP, announced his upcoming retirement on Tuesday afternoon.

After fighting a battle with cancer, the premier is cancer-free and in good health. Nonetheless, he has made the decision to step down once a new leader is chosen.

“My health is good,” Horgan said. “But my energy flags as the days go by.”

He will stay on as premier and party leader until a replacement is chosen. A date will be selected in the fall for a leadership convention.

“This has been the thrill of my life to be the premier British Columbia. And I will be the premier of British Columbia tomorrow, and the day after that. And the day after that,” Horgan said.

The announcement comes during a time of speculation and curiosity about the intentions of party members on all sides: who is running, and who is not, in ridings across the province.
It is also a time when the premier asks about the intentions of his colleagues.

“Before I asked that question of my colleagues,” the premier explained, “[my wife and I] came to the conclusion that I’m not able to make another six year commitment to this job.”

The announcement also intends to quell speculation about the premier’s intentions for the future so that the focus can move back to “what really matters.”

“And that’s the issues before British Colombians. This has never been about me,” Horgan said.

He spoke to some of these issues after announcing his impending retirement: the rising cost of living and the flagging healthcare system were prominent among them.

Meetings on the Canada Health Transfer and the crisis in public healthcare are coming up in the next few weeks. “I fully intend to carry on that battle to make the federal government stand up for the commitments they made to all of us…and fix the most important social program—in fact, the most important program—in Canada,” Horgan said.

A premier stepping down absent scandal or loss of an election has been uncommon in B.C. for the last few decades.

The premier was proud of his time serving his province and its people in elected office, which he has held at different levels for 36 years combined. He recognized that it has not been easy, nor has it been a perfect record.

“There have been days when things have gone well, and there have been days that things didn’t go. That’s the nature of the human condition,” he said. “And I am honoured to have had the opportunity.”

Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a news reporter for who recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a bachelor of arts in Media + Communications. She was born and raised just outside of Fort St. John. She began reporting for her university’s student newspaper and interned with Ottawa Life Magazine where she developed a passion for asking questions, telling stories, and the written word. In her free time, you can find her drinking coffee, snowboarding, or reading novels.