Lt. Governor Judith Guichon’s five-year term as the Queen’s representative in B.C. ends today, with a ceremony at the B.C. legislature and a parting gift from Premier John Horgan.
Horgan announced that the province is donating $10,000 to Stewards of the Future, an organization started by Guichon to connect the province’s youth to the outdoors. The money goes to support high school teachers to take students on field trips, visit local sites of interest and work on stewardship.
Guichon was also presented with a western saddle pad embroidered with the Lieutenant Governor’s crest and the province’s coat of arms. A lifelong rancher, Guichon is a former president of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association and a pioneer in developing low-impact grazing techniques in the B.C. Interior.
Guichon’s tenure will be long remembered for June 29, 2017 decision to accept former premier Christy Clark’s resignation and call on NDP leader John Horgan to form a minority government, supported by three B.C. Green MLAs.
Clark was determined going into the meeting that she would get a new election, after the May vote produced one of the most inconclusive results in B.C. history. It took a lengthy recount in Courtenay-Comox to determine that the B.C. Liberals had lost their majority after 16 years and four elections.
“This isn’t a working legislature, and I haven’t seen any evidence it could work,” Clark said of the month of continued governing with 43 B.C. Liberal MLAs, 41 NDP and three Greens.
Clark had sworn in a new cabinet, with oaths of office delivered by Guichon, and written a new throne speech that Guichon read to a stunned legislature and public. It borrowed extensively from the NDP and B.C. Green platforms in the May election, and Green leader Andrew Weaver wasted no time in rejecting it, voting against the speech at first reading.
Guichon has said since her June 29 meeting with Clark at Government House that she never considered triggering a new election, after the NDP and Greens presented a support agreement.
Guichon is to be replaced for a five-year term by Janet Austin, CEO of the Metro Vancouver YWCA and former executive director of Big Sisters of the Lower Mainland.