After several weeks of campaigning and “conversations” through media following those small gatherings with supporters and party membership all six Liberals hopefuls will have a first chance to meet each other face to face. Everyone who’s highly interested in leadership race in these days has a lot of unanswered questions for candidates regarding their intentions in the leadership and premiership role for next two and half years. First all-candidate gathering will be held on Wednesday in Vancouver Downtown organized by non-profit “Build2030” organization titled as: “The Next Generation of Leaders Meets the Next Premier of British Columbia”.
Three candidates are already declared as frontrunners and they are in a great position to be elevated on the highest position in the provincial governance system. Christy Clark, George Abbott and Kevin Falcon are not only frontrunners, but also heavyweight contestants with respectable careers in provincial politics, previously holders of highest positions in the Legislature and Cabinet. If you visit their web presentations is quite easy to discover main elements on the campaign charts but even if you discover these you’ll be unable to form final picture.
So let’s start with George Abbott and his promises. It seems that Abbott sets his attention on five major fields: economy, families, rural B, new leadership and his vision of the provincial future government. As meticulous and experienced manager George Abbott enlisted all his ideas and wishes for improvement pretty clearly with lot of details whom are supporting his intentions. In few words Abbott wants better managed, efficient and caring government which will be totally open to all her constituencies and to every single person. He’s only of two candidates who includes Rural BC as a part of his agenda and clearly explains his intentions. Not long ago we heard from him ideas regarding Carbon taxation which was attacked by rival Christy Clark, but let leave Clark’s attack for the moment aside. Abbott’s campaign it seems to receive a lot of support from all sides of the province with support of 15 MLA, and some business related persons.
Christy Clark on the other side, since few days one of two outsiders in the race, started in great manor. But not so great start in the following weeks. She’s one of the candidates who will be in need to answer largest number of questions, and to explain almost all of her currently presented policies. Clark entered race in first days of December and up today presented only three policies [if we can called them policies], followed but small amount of supporting data. So Christy Clark will enlarge financial package for NGO’s funded from gambling revenue for extra $15 million dollars, wants to establish new holiday called “Family Day” sometimes in February and it has a “Families first agenda”. These $15 million for NGO’s will probably been taken from some other budget line where current government transferred those funds, it is not important that they get a funding but is important to ensure that someone else in the budget is not short funded. I’m still thinking about her “Families First” just because I don’t found any concrete information’s regarding it, and her video supposed to tell us something more was “family history” story. Beside this Christy Clark will probably be forced to answer many unpleasant question regarding her political past and her family political past, I hope that she has all those answers ready and steady to give present to public.
Kevin Falcon started his campaign with largest number of policies and explanations what he intends to do from February 26th until next elections in 2013. As former health and transport minister, and husband of the teacher, Falcon has great insight in these there highly important areas of life in the province. That forced him to present vivid selection of information’s on health care, education, economy and families [young father of baby Josephine]. Currently he’s second of the six candidates who include in his agenda policies regarding BC rural especially Northern and Interior BC. Regarding to his ideas he will have Northern Premier Office and Cabinet Room which will opened new ways of communication with remote areas of the province. Not long ago he sparkled national wide debate on merit-pay education reform and that’s is a first candidate policy well discussed not only in BC media, or sections of national newspapers, but also on TV, internet and radio.
One of three possible dark horses of the race, Mike De Jong [MDJ], started unveiling process with idea that younger BC citizens, 16-18 years-of-age, should be eligible to vote on next provincial elections in 2013. Well his idea was immediately proclaimed as “stupid”, no one give him real chance to unveil all elements of his proposal and start discussion with public on it. Same happened to Falcon’s idea of merit-pay, it seems that any “unusual” idea is “stupid” just because you don’t know anything about it or you just don’t want to lose your position and benefits. Veteran politician, house leader and cabinet minister, MDJ wants smaller more efficient cabinet, less positions of parliamentary secretaries and smaller budget to his own office [few million saved, but some other program or institution will get few million extra].
Two remaining candidates didn’t say too much, Dr. Stiwell has some ideas on economy, families and good governance; and Ed Mayne, latest candidate, puts his entire wage on his entrepreneurship, management and business experience. Both of them are not seen as seriously danger rival to Abbott-Clark-Falcon trio just because they don’t possess long-term provincial or local political experience.
All six candidates will be forced to answer large number of questions regarding: taxation, housing, fiscal responsibility, child poverty, health system, social services, infrastructure, and many more areas of everyday life.
For example my friend and ADHD Coach and blogger, Pete Quily (@petequily) tweeted call to all those ones who’ll attend Wednesday’s event with candidates to ask them following question:
“Please ask #leadbcl candidates about reopening BC adult #ADHD clinic at wed debate in Vancouver http://bit.ly/gwMMGS #bcpoli #bcliberals”
In a line with current weather conditions some organizations will probably ask candidates what they will do to help local municipalities in their efforts to save many lives of those one who will sleep on the street without any chance to spend a night in warm shelter.
This basically means that candidates will need to be prepared not only on questions from the public but also from their rivals in this race. Heat will be on, temperature is rising, and warm political winter is approaching hottest point.
My only pledge to everyone is let’s have honest, open and accountable discussion on Wednesday and let show to the people real picture of future BC leadership.