John Horgan is the leader of the British Columbia New Democratic Party and MLA for the constituency of Juan de Fuca in the Canadian province of British Columbia. He was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. Horgan was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in the 2005 election.
In June 2006, he was appointed the Official Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Energy and Mines in New Democrat leader Carole James' shadow cabinet, having previously served as the Official Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Education. In January 2011, he announced his candidacy for leadership of the NDP in the 2011 leadership election, although he was ultimately not selected.
Following the Leadership election, he was appointed the Official Opposition Critic for Energy, and Opposition House Leader. He was replaced by Bruce Ralston as Opposition House Leader following his entry into the 2014 Leadership election.
On March 17, 2014, he announced his candidacy in the 2014 leadership election. with the slogan "Real Leadership. For All BC". During the campaign he has talked at length about the necessity of balancing the need for jobs and resource development, while protecting BC's natural environment. Horgan was acclaimed to the position on May 1, 2014 and was officially inaugurated as party leader on May 5, 2014.
As the 2005 provincial election was approaching, the 45 year old Horgan won NDP nomination, against Julie Thomas of Shawnigan Lake in the riding of Malahat-Juan de Fuca. The incumbent MLA Brian Kerr was not seeking re-election so in the general election, Horgan faced BC Liberal Cathy Basskin of Cowichan Bay, Democratic Reform BC party leader Tom Morino, Steven Hurdle who was a late-replacement for the Green candidate, a Western Canada Concept candidate. Polling showed Morino was drawing significant amount of the centrist vote so that it was a close race between the two top parties: NDP and Liberals. Though Horgan won his riding, the NDP under Carole James's leadership formed the official opposition to the BC Liberals who formed an absolute majority government. Horgan was named opposition critic to the Minister of Education Shirley Bond. Horgan criticized the government's 2005 Teachers' Collective Agreement Act which legislated a new contact onto teachers, after several months of unsuccessful collective bargaining, as "inflam[ing] an already volatile situation". In June 2006, Horgan was moved over to critic to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resource Richard Neufeld. Horgan called for the Oil and Gas Commission to provide more transparent reporting after it was claimed its annual 97% compliance rating was near-perfect, despite 2,500 known infractions, the majority of which were rated major or serious. Following a sudden sharp increase in gasoline prices in early 2007 Horgan introduced the Retail Petroleum Consumer Protection Act as a private member bill which, if passed, would have put gasoline prices under the jurisdiction of the B.C. Utilities Commission, same as electricity and natural gas. The bill was supported by an 18,000 signature petition and elicited editorial responses from Minister Neufeld and Christy Clark.
In January 2007 Horgan accused Premier Gordon Campbell of conflict-of-interest, due to owning shares of Alcan while signing an order-in-council approving an agreement between Alcan and BC Hydro which was subsequently overturned by the Utilities Commission as being not in the public interest. The Ethic Commissioner cleared Campbell of wrongdoing but made a recommendation that cabinet ministers and other senior officials place their assets in blind trusts. Horgan subsequently introduced this recommendation as the private member bill Members' Conflict of Interest Amendment Act in the third and fourth sessions and, similar but more comprehensive bill, in line with the Federal Accountability Act, but they were not advanced beyond first reading.
In Fall 2008, Horgan was diagnosed with bladder cancer and underwent treatment surgery to remove it. Following a legislative amendment that immediate increased MLA salaries by 29%, Horgan, along with all other NDP MLAs, donated the increase to charities in his riding such as hospices and food banks, for the remainder of the 38th Parliament.
Horgan was acclaimed as the NDP candidate for the 2009 election in the Juan de Fuca riding. He easily defeated Colwood mayor Jody Twa of the BC Liberals and Metchosin farmer James Powell of the Green Party. In the 39th Parliament the NDP again formed the official opposition to the BC Liberals who formed their third consecutive absolute majority government. Party leader Carole James kept Horgan as energy and mines critic. Horgan was critical of the government over-turning the BC Utilities Commission's decision on obtaining electricity from independent power producers and exempting the Site C dam and the northwest transmission line projects from Utilities Commission review, arguing that the projects were not in the public interest. Horgan linked the government's imposition of private IPP electricity purchasing agreements on BC Hydro and the exemption of BC Utilities Commission review of major public projects (including the smart meter implementation program) to increases in BC Hydro rates. Horgan responded to the government's energy plan with an editorial to which Minister Blair Lekstrom responded. He presented to the legislature a declaration of opposition to the Site C, as signed by Peace River area residents and First Nations.
During criticism of party leader Carole James, Horgan remained loyal. Following her resignation, the 51 year old Horgan put himself forward for the leadership position. Policy platforms he campaigned on included a comprehensive review of taxation and government revenue under a 'Fair Tax Commission, expanding the carbon tax to include the exempted large industrial emitters, getting the Evergreen Line and light rail to the Western Communities built, implementing the recommendations of the Select Standing Committee on Aquaculture, continuing the ban on North Coast tanker traffic and offshore oil exploration, and introducing an introduce an Endangered Species Act. He was endorsed by Robin Austin, Gary Coons, Kathy Corrigan, Scott Fraser, Maurine Karagianis, Bill Routley, Shane Simpson, and Claire Trevena, as well as Harry Lali and Nicholas Simons after they dropped out of the race. Opinion polling placed Horgan in third behind Adrian Dix and Mike Farnworth, but seen as a suitable compromise candidate between the party's preferred stronger candidate of Dix and the more likable Farnworth. Dix went on to win and assigned Horgan back to the role of critic for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources which Doug Donaldson had overseen during the leadership election, as well as adding house leader to his duties.
In the 2013 election Horgan again won the Juan de Fuca riding, this time against BC Liberal candidate and Sooke councillor Kerrie Reay and Green Party candidate Carlos Serra. On the local level, his campaign focused on transportation issues and regional growth while on the provincial campaign he promised a comprehensive review of BC Hydro, in particular its debt load, commitments to independent power producers, and future infrastructure requirements, and advocated a market-driven approach to creating a liquefied natural gas industry, in contrast to the BC Liberal approach, at the time, of presenting expressions of interest as committed future revenue. The NDP were favoured to win the general election but, while Horgan won his riding, the party again formed the official opposition with Horgan returning to his role as critic for the energy portfolio in the 40th Parliament. Shortly after the election, Horgan and Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett exchanged op-eds regarding new BC Hydro rate increases and cost overruns in the Northwest Transmission line project.
In September 2013, Dix announced his resignation as NDP leader and both Horgan and Farnsworth were immediately considered front-runners to replace him. A month later Horagn stated his intention not run and encouraged the younger NDP MLAs, such as David Eby, Spencer Chandra Herbert and Rob Fleming, to enter the leadership race. However, by January 2014 only Mike Farnworth announced an intention to run. With Farnworth formally declaring his candidacy in early March 2014, Horgan was urged to re-considered. The 54-year old Horgan announced his candidacy on March 17 backed by Carole James, Maurine Karagianis and Bill Routley. David Eby and Michelle Mungall endorsed him and co-chaired his campaign and within a week 15 MLAs endorsed him. In early April, with Horgan receiving further endorsements from Dawn Black, Joe Trasolini and Fin Donnelly - all figures from Farnworth's Tri-Cities-area, Farnworth withdrew from the leadership race, leaving Horgan the sole candidate. After the deadline for nominations passed on May 1, Horgan was acclaimed leader of the BC NDP. He appointed Farnsworth as opposition house leader, with Mungall as his deputy and critic of social development, and split his old position of critic position into three parts divided between Norm Macdonald as critic of energy and mines, Bruce Ralston on natural gas, Dix on BC Hydro, as well as charging the younger MLAs with significant portfolios, like Rob Fleming with education, Spencer Chandra Herbert with environment, and David Eby with eight specific critic responsibilities.
Just prior to becoming leader, the parliament's second session, Horgan introduced two private member bills, the Standing Committee Reform Act, 2014 (Bill M-203) that would have expanded the scope of their terms of reference and required they be appointed at the beginning of each parliament with membership in proportion to party standings, and the Parliamentary Calendar Act, 2014 (Bill M-204) that would have legislated that the parliament must convene in the Spring and Fall of each year. After he became leader, these two bills were re-introduced by NDP critic on democratic reform Gary Holman in the fourth session (2015). As leader, Horgan introduced three bills, all in the fifth session: the Hydro Affordability Act, 2016 (Bill M-206) that would allow the Utilities Commission to require a utility to offer a 'lifeline rate' to low-income households, the Speculator Tracking and Housing Affordability Fund Act, 2016
(Bill M-209) that would have allowed participating jurisdictions that levy a 2% property tax on residential properties held vacant for use in affordable housing initiatives, and Campaign Finance Reform Act, 2016 (Bill M-213) that would ban corporations and unions from making financial political contributions and require the chief electoral officer review and provide recommendations regarding the financing of the political process.
|Malahat-Juan de FucaBritish Columbia general election, 2005:|
|New Democratic||John Horgan||12,460||46.09%||$42,953|
|Democratic Reform||Tom Morino||1,256||4.65%||$2,775|
|Western Canada Concept||Pattie O'Brien||180||0.67%||$100|
|Total valid votes||27,034||100%|
|Total rejected ballots||128||0.47%|
|Juan de FucaBritish Columbia general election, 2009:|
|New Democratic||John Horgan||11,520||57.21%||$73,822|
|Total valid votes||20,135||100%|
|Total rejected ballots||107||0.53%|
|British Columbia general election, 2013: Juan de Fuca|
|New Democratic||John Horgan||12,338||53.32||$97,977|
|Total valid votes||23,140||100%|
|Total rejected ballots||91||0.39%|