Pandemic election pays off for ruling British Columbia party

The leftist New Democrats won a majority government in the British Columbia election this weekend as voters rewarded Premier John Horgan with a second term after he took a gamble on calling an election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NDP won enough seats to form a majority government in Pacific Coast Canadian province after previously governing with a minority. That meant the NDP had rely on at least one opposition party to pass legislation.

NDP Leader John Horgan leaves following an announcement during an election campaign stop in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. (Jonathan HaywardThe Canadian Press via AP)

With the win, Horgan becomes the first two-term NDP premier in British Columbia history.

The New Democrats won 53 seats, the Liberals 27 seats and the Greens three. Four ridings were too close to call.

The pandemic meant the election was mostly fought online. Gone were rallies, replaced by virtual town halls. Handshakes turned into elbow bumps.

The NDP platform was largely built on the party’s record and promises to continue what it started, including expanding $10-a-day child care and implementing a rent freeze until the end of next year.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Horgan, saying he is looking forward to working with the premier on the response to the pandemic.