This week was one of the most interesting since outgoing Premier Gordon Campbell decides to step down and call BC Liberals to elect his successor. Four out of six candidates present strategies, agendas or policies which will be implemented in a following two and half years if they will become premier of BC and leader of the Liberals. In almost two dozen presented agendas and programs we found a lot of interesting elements which will indeed improve political and social situation in BC, but some of them are seen as just populist blabbering’s without any impact on situation. One proposal was immediately judged as, too extreme or almost stupid. During the week Kevin Falcon proposed merit-pay model for teachers and as it was expected unions were on the first line of fire to attack his proposal.
Bennett attacks Clark
George Abbott who’s leader in MLA support on Thursday received another endorsement from independent MLA, former Cabinet minister, Bill Bennett. As it is known Bennett was kicked out of the Cabinet and caucus following his media statements regarding outgoing premier Gordon Campbell’s behaviour and way of dealing with Cabinet ministers and Liberal caucus in BC Legislature. Kootenay East MLA revealed his support to Abbott’s leadership bid based on Abbott’s ability to work with people, to come in their backyard and talk to them over the BBQ, not being someone strange and distant to his [Bennett’s] constituency. In same endorsement Bennett attacked Christy Clark over her promise to held monthly city hall meeting with citizens.
“With all due respect to her, her combative, partisan style is not what people want today. The province and the party do not need a leader who promises to hold 12 photo ops a year outside Victoria. The province needs a smart, down to earth farmer from the Shuswap who has 30 years experience in public life, who is a natural listener and consensus builder, who has raised a family, run a small business, who is genuine, modest and real. That person is George Abbott and he is going to make a great premier”, said Bennett in his statement.
In times when province wide media’s and public are talking about proposed actions and ideas from Liberal leadership contestants, one candidate is under enormous pressure over the BC Rail case. No one talks about Christy Clark’s ideas or policies, maybe because she didn’t present yet anything worth of talking or she just don’t have anything in count to present, but everyone is talking about BC Rail case and her connection with it. Smaller but not forgettable amount of pressure also goes on former Attorney-General, Mike De Jong, who was man behind payment of $6 million dollars in BC Rail settlement.
New Braidwood inquiry
Two candidates, Abbott and Falcon, are firm that the province needs to hold a review of settlement process and fairness of payment to lawyers of two convicted criminals. On Thursday, Kevin Falcon, said in an interview on CKNW radio that beside review in BC Rail case province needs urgent reform of justice system. Clark’s successor on CKNW, Mike Smyth, proposed in his column in The Province on Tuesday inquiry in this case to be led by Judge Thomas Braidwood who did marvellous job in the Dziekanski teaser case.
Further pressure is coming from bloggers, especially from Alex G. Tsakumis, who writes almost daily about this issue on his blog. One of his latest posts accuses The Vancouver Sun and Christy Clark for censuring her chat with public on The Sun website, and he concludes that over the fact that several of his and other present chatters questions regarding Charity Clark’s connection with the case were not answered.
Ed Mayne new candidate
This week also brings latest leadership candidate. Parksville Mayor, Ed Mayne, former Tim Horton’s executive decide to throw in his name and challenge experienced and much known politicians in the quest to replace Gordon Campbell. Mr. Mayne stands that his experience and managerial career should and could help BC on the road to the better future. Since he’s almost unknown in the other parts of the province, he’s chances for win in this race are small but you never know what could happen in politics. Dark horse can win when you don’t expect them to even run the race. Mr. Mayne is welcome in the race; every single voice is desirable addition to the discussion over the BC Liberal leadership.
Debate schedule next week
Supporters are eager to see all candidates in one place in debate regarding policy and leadership issues, and their time will come sometimes in the next few weeks. BC Liberals executives announced today their attention to revealed debate dates sometimes next week. In era of social-media importance remaining questions are: will debate be streamed online, will probably be stream on the TV and on which way debates will be presented on the Twitter. Regarding these question I’m pretty sure that on one or another way public will be able to see debate coverage, because all candidates already used live streams on the Internet, their supporters are well experienced in the social-media world.