Premier John Horgan shows some humility in halting the development of a new Royal BC Museum

In the spring session of the legislature, the BC Liberals got their mojo back by repeatedly hammering a grand plan to create a new Royal BC Museum.

They tore into the project — which was going to be funded by a $ 790-million provincial grant — by gleefully calling it the premier’s vanity project.

The BC Greens also jumped in, with Saanich North and the Islands MLA and Tsartlip First Nation (WJOȽEȽP) member Adam Olsen leading the charge.

Some of the most heated and emotional debates were between Olsen and Tourism, Art, Culture and Sport Minister Melanie Mark, who’s of Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree, and Ojibway heritage. They regularly sparred over whether this new museum would be beneficial or harmful to Indigenous people.

Today, Premier John Horgan pulled the plug on the project after trying in vain for weeks to defend the proposal by claiming that the BC Liberals did not understand the difference between a capital and operating budget.

“We have heard the people of BC say this is the wrong call, at the wrong time,” Horgan said.

He also mentioned that contrary to the announcement earlier this year, the existing Royal BC Museum east of the Parliament Buildings will not close this fall.

“I always try to act in the best interests of British Columbians,” Horgan said. “That involves always listening, and taking responsibility when you make the wrong call. This is one of those times.”

Say what you will about Horgan’s other policies, whether it’s the Site C dam, old-growth logging, subsidizing frackers, fiscal matters, or his resc response to COVID-19.

In this instance, he listened to what people were saying and he abruptly changed course.

It’s unusual to see a politician speak so frankly about misreading the public’s mood.

Let’s give the premier credit for that — while also taking note of how this decision will also slow some of the momentum that the BC Liberals were generating under new leader Kevin Falcon.


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