Premier John Horgan is shrugging off the removal of pandemic restrictions in Saskatchewan and beyond, suggesting B.C. will stick to its plan of a gradual reopening in advance of the Family Day holiday.
Horgan made the comments during a media availability Tuesday following the speech from the throne, which stated the end days of the pandemic will be in months not years.
“I absolutely understand that people are done with this. I live in a community, I have neighbours, I talk to people all the time… we all want to move on” he said. “But we have been successful by following the guidelines and the hard work of public health officials led by Dr. Henry and her team.”
Horgan noted that provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has suggested some but not all restrictions will be lifted by Family Day.
“We'll just see where Dr. Henry she wants to go with all of this, she hasn't advised me on our plans yet I have a vague idea based on hospitalizations being stable cases coming down,” he said, while adding he still supports masking and the vaccine passport system.
B.C. will not be moving to loosen restrictions in a “reckless and cavalier manner just because people are honking horns,” he said.
“I'll put our record up against all of the other provinces in the country and outcomes have been better in terms of mortality, in terms of impacts on the economy,” he said, pointing to the province’s 5.1% unemployment rate, which is the lowest in Canada and better than pre-pandemic levels.
Horgan said he supports the right to protest and dissent, but not when it impedes the rights of other citizens.
“I couldn't count the number of protests I've been to in my life,” he said.
“I'm hopeful that people will continue to express their discontent in a way that does not interfere with the lives of other people.”
While other premiers in Canada have increasingly become the face of each province’s reopening plan, Horgan says Dr. Henry will continue to take the lead in B.C.
“She is far more equipped and able to understand the data and translate that for the public than I am.”
He said he still believes a politician acting as an intermediary between the experts and the public is the wrong approach.