Former B.C. premier John Horgan, Canada's ambassador to Germany, has cancer again

LANGFORD, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA — Former British Columbia premier and Canada's ambassador to Germany John Horgan is staying positive about his health and sends healing thoughts to people battling cancer as he faces his third bout with the disease, says his New Democrat colleague Ravi Parmar.

Parmar, elected last year in a byelection in Horgan's former Victoria-area riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca, said Tuesday he heard from Horgan and was told he has thyroid cancer.

Horgan has taken an indefinite leave from his duties as ambassador to undergo treatment in Berlin, said Parmar.

"He'll be on leave for as long as he needs to be, but I know that he's certainly thinking of those that, like him, are facing cancer," Parmar said in an interview. "I've been texting with him today and in the past number of weeks and months. We've been chatting frequently and I know that he's been again getting the best care possible and fighting really hard to beat this cancer."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Horgan Canada's ambassador to Germany in November 2023.

Horgan, 64, was B.C.'s premier from 2017 to 2022 and the New Democrat Party leader for eight years. He served five terms in the provincial legislature.

While premier, Horgan was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2021 and went through more than 30 radiation treatment sessions, having previously recovered from bladder cancer in 2008.

B.C. Premier David Eby offered Horgan best wishes for a swift recovery and support to his wife, Ellie, and their two adult sons.

"I know these two things, John is a fighter and all British Columbians are pulling for him to make a speedy recovery," said Eby on social media.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said Horgan has defeated cancer twice and will do the same again.

"John, of course, is a good friend of ours and a truly great British Columbian who has served this province so well," said Dix at a health care news conference in Surrey. "We know the battles he’s gone through with cancer and we know that he is going to do that again."

B.C. United Opposition Party Leader Kevin Falcon wished Horgan well with his health challenge.

"My thoughts are with former premier John Horgan and his wife Ellie in this difficult time," Falcon said on social media. "On behalf of our entire BC United caucus, I want to wish him a speedy and complete recovery in this fight against cancer."

The Conservative Party of B.C. said "we send our best wishes to John Horgan as he battles cancer. We hope to see him return to good health soon."

Green Party MLA Adam Olsen said "my thoughts and prayers are with him and I'll keep him and his family in our hearts."

Horgan resigned his suburban Victoria seat in Langford in March 2023, citing health reasons.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2024.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press