Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Premier Horgan telegraphs prospect of stronger COVID measures ahead and plans for next session of Legislature as part of media briefing Wednesday

Premier Horgan took a number
of COVID related questions
at a media briefing today
With COVID numbers continuing to rise across the province, Premier John Horgan spoke to what may lay ahead for British Columbians, noting that these are challenging times and how British Columbians cannot lose their resolve after their efforts of the past.

Noting that he had been briefed by Dr. Henry and Minister Dix earlier in the day,  he observed that they will have more to say on how to control the spread of the virus on Thursday.

From his perspective the largest issue has been large social gatherings and other activities which he noted has provided for much of the current surge of cases, particularly in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health regions.

"Suffice it to say that the regional orders that were brought in on November 9th need to be able to take hold, that means we need to ensure that the clusters that we're seeing as case loads go up from social gatherings are reduced as much as possible." 

Mr. Horgan outlined some of the other actions that the province has taken as part of its COVID response and spoke to the topic of travel at this time, observing towards the current situation that is in place in the province. 

"When it comes to travel, non-essential travel is prohibited in British Columbia and it will remain that way for the next two weeks at least. I'm going to reach out to the Prime Minister we have been working collaboratively for months now ... but I want to say today, that we need a pan Canadian approach to travel. We need to make sure that people living in Coquitlam are living under the same rules as people in Chicoutimi. We need to  make sure that those who want to come to British Columbia must only do so if it's essential for their business or their well being. Beyond that we need to stay in our tight social circles"

The topic of regional travel bans from certain regions also came up in the Q & A session, with the Premier holding to his preference to advise that it's not the time for travel.

"I'm not suggesting that we put in restrictions beyond saying the obvious; which is if you don't need to travel, don't travel. This is not the time to go storm watching on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, this is not the time to plan for a large gathering of friends over the Christmas holiday. We need to focus on getting through the winter, getting through this second wave which is proving to be significantly challenging"

Towards education, the Premier appears to be holding true to the current course of keeping the schools open, noting how the Government has responded to some of the concerns relayed in recent weeks, noting the use of troubleshooters in the K-12 system to respond to changing circumstances in the classrooms.

Mr. Horgan also outlined the approach the province is taking to adjust to new information on the virus and how they adjust to those changing situations.

"As new information comes available, as the science dictates we will pivot and amend our plans. And that is appropriate, I think British Columbians expect that and we're doing our level best to meet the expectations of keeping people safe, keeping our economy open and not using restrictions in a heavy handed way, but using restrictions in a way that are protecting public health and protecting our loved ones"

The Premier also outlined the path ahead for his new government which was elected in October, noting that he will have a cabinet put in place by next week, the members sworn in to their duties on November 26th, with the members taking their seats virtually. 

That bit of business will be followed with a short session of the Legislature to be called on December 7th with a brief Throne Speech which will focus on the challenges of COVID 19.

When it comes to the short  government session ahead, the Premier outlined that some of the focus would be the ongoing financial response that the province has taken in the previous months as a response to the virus; with hopes of the $500 or $1,000 COVID cheques which were promised during the election campaign, still a possibility to be deposited for British Columbians before the Christmas period.

You can review the Premier's full address and Q and A session from the video below:

For more notes related to Provincial Government themes see our archive page here.

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