Opinion Column

Horgan has a lot planned for his first 100 days

By Steve Burgess

BC NDP Leader John Horgan.
POSTMEDIA

BC NDP Leader John Horgan. POSTMEDIA

British writer Samuel Johnson once wrote: “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

I'll bet John Horgan knows that quote.

The new B.C. premier has to feel he is living on borrowed time, so he is getting straight to the bucket list. In addition to unveiling an ambitious agenda for his first 100 days, Horgan has already hit the road on a trip to Ottawa and Washington.

Also on the to-do list: pushing ahead with a new $15 minimum wage and reforms to campaign finance involving a ban on corporate and union donations. Horgan also wants to review the Site C dam project, scrap bridge tolls, build a giant wall and make Mexico pay for it, and ... wait, that might be a different guy.

The point is, he has a lot planned for his first 100 days. Actually getting to 100 days will be the tricky part.

With a legislative majority that is either razor-thin or non-existent depending on how the Speaker situation plays out, Premier Horgan has to be painfully aware of his own political mortality. Like Damocles, the legendary figure who sits on a throne with a sword over his head suspended by a single horse hair, Horgan knows the end could come at any time.

The people Horgan meets on his road trip will surely know that too. How will it affect the premier's ability to get things done? Will he be taken seriously or will the powers that be decide to sit back and await more clarity in the B.C. political situation?

That's another problem with living under a looming death sentence — people realize they can wait you out and deal with your replacement. Either another election is coming or at the very least the NDP/Greens have to demonstrate their team can make it work in the legislature before Horgan's agenda can gain some real traction.

As for Samuel Johnson, his line about being “hanged in a fortnight” was written about a specific man, a certain William Dodd. Dodd was in fact hanged 240 years ago, on June 22, 1777.

What was his crime? Murder? Piracy? Nope. Dodd obtained a loan through fraudulent means — said it was for a friend but then kept the money himself — and failed to pay it back. Back in the good old days, they hung you for that. And you think high credit card interest is brutal.