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A look at some of the issues in the British Columbia election campaign

Last Updated Sep 21, 2020 at 5:24 pm EDT

VICTORIA — Here’s a look at some of the major issues facing British Columbia at the start of the provincial election campaign:

COVID-19: Cases are rising in British Columbia, which set a daily record of 165 new cases last Thursday. In response to the spike in cases, the provincial health officer recently ordered the immediate closure of nightclubs and banquet halls, and a tightening of rules that bars, pubs, lounges and restaurants are allowed to operate under.

The Economy: The next government is facing large economic problems caused by the pandemic. In the latest financial outlook released earlier this month, an economic decline of 6.7 per cent was forecast this year, while the budget is projected to post a deficit of almost $13 billion for the 2020-21 fiscal year after a surplus was predicted in the spring budget.

The Election: With uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the opposition parties are expected to try and make Premier John Horgan’s decision to call an early election a central issue in the campaign. The next election was scheduled for October 2021 and Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said Monday there “is no legitimate justification for this election.”

Leadership: Horgan is fighting his second election as party leader and has served as premier for the past three years, while this is the first campaign for B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and Green Leader Sonia Furstenau.

The Canadian Press