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B.C. premier to undergo biopsy surgery on his throat

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has been appointed deputy premier
Over the past few weeks, 'tests revealed a growth in my throat that will require surgery tomorrow morning,' Premier John Horgan said Thursday. GOVERNMENT OF B.C.

Premier John Horgan, who has had cancer before, says he will undergo a biopsy of a growth in his throat during an overnight hospital stay on Friday, but will stay on as premier and in all other leadership roles.

Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general since 2017, has been appointed deputy premier. There has been no one in that position since Carole James chose not to run in the recent provincial election after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

“Out of an abundance of caution, I’ve signed an order to appoint Minister Mike Farnworth as deputy premier in the event that I need him to assist me with my duties,” Horgan said.

Farnworth said Thursday in a media availability he was “very concerned” to hear the news from the premier, who has been a friend and colleague for over 30 years.

“My first concern, of course, like anybody, is for the premier and he indicates he’s going to be back at work next week and I certainly hope that he is,” Farnworth said. “My role will be to assist him in any way that he needs.” That could mean attending briefings and meetings.

Over the past few weeks, “tests revealed a growth in my throat that will require surgery tomorrow morning,” Horgan said Thursday.

Any further treatment will be based on what doctors find. “But it is it is certainly treatable, as I’ve been told,” Horgan said. “When we get information from the pathology, tomorrow evening, we’ll have a course of treatment and certainly the public [will be] made aware of that at that time.”

In 2008, Horgan was diagnosed with bladder cancer, but was later declared cancer-free after surgery and treatment.

“I have been here before and I am not alone,” said Horgan, adding anyone with health concerns should not wait to see a doctor. “Urgent primary care centers are there for this very reason.

Horgan said he wanted to be transparent about his health challenges. “That type of information just doesn’t stay quiet and I think transparency is really important in these situations.

“It’s also an opportunity for me to remind people that British Columbians, families, deal with these types of diagnoses every day. They do it with strength and resolution.”

Horgan joked that the immediate impact of the surgery is that he won’t be able to talk, a possible short-term blessing for his wife Ellie, whom he married in 1984. The couple has two grown sons.

“Well, I’m worried that it might have an impact on my ability to talk in the short term, which is some comfort for my spouse Ellie,” he quipped.

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