Provincial press events

The new government is certainly acting differently.

2017 Aug 04, Premier John Horgan arrives, talks to bystander. Photo: Wayne Saewyc

I have had the privilege to be invited to a few British Columbia press events over the years, all but the most recent being called by the Liberals of BC. I attended pressers by the last three Premiers[O en.WP], Gordon Campbell[en.WP], Christy Clark[en.WP], and now John Horgan[en.WP]. This last one stands out.

Not least because this event was held at the Jim Deva Plaza[O Tw]. Every other event was held in a carefully controlled environment – a hotel, the BC Parliament buildings[C] – but this was brought down to a community directly affected by what was being announced. Almost every press event I have attended has had an outdoor photo opportunity, and this one was no different, but in this case there was no ‘indoor’ staged photo event.

2017 Aug 04, Premier Jim Horgan speaking at announcement of Human Rights Commission. Photo: Wayne Saewyc

Yes, they picked the time and place carefully, Davie Village[O] as it was gearing up for Pride[O] weekend events[R]. But the whole event felt much less scripted than usual. Premier Horgan arrived a couple minutes late, but took a digression to speak to an observer mostly, I felt, to give himself a minute or two to assess the crowd of people gathered – because he had no idea what his reception was going to be.

And it was a pretty big announce. After 15 years (nearly the whole of the previous government’s tenure) the province would be re-establishing a Human Rights commission. This is in part an attempt to rein-in the “Wild West” attitudes displayed by government and business previously. HRCs are intended to help research and develop policy, as well as serve as a check on government and business alike.

2017 Aug 04 Post-announcement scrums. Photo: Wayne Saewyc

The post-announcement grinder was both more harried and more fun. The attitudes of the journalists were quite positive, even when they were asking hard questions and pressing for statements. It was almost as if everyone was enjoying the game again, new faces and personalities for the press, and new attention for the NDP. These were not enemies, even if they were were opposed.

Let’s hope the honeymoon continues for a good long while.