The cut-off day for signup of new BC Liberal members ended up with two distinctively different events. Two of six candidates presented membership numbers and enlist how big support to their campaigns is. Christy Clark’s campaign once more captivates media attention, not on my surprise, gets attention through scandals not through policy proposals. At the moment biggest responsibility lays on BC Liberal party but also on Clark’s membership team who didn’t check facts and elements regarding each membership slip.
One of the frontrunners and major candidates to become new premier, Kevin Falcon, revealed that his campaign succeed to signup 17.500 plus new members to BC Liberal party. All information’s available to this moment saying that Falcon succeed in his effort mainly thank to large support in Asian, and East-Indian communities in Lower Mainland but also to big crowed all over the province. Long trips all over the BC and start of his campaign in his native constituency and after that in Prince George were just two additional elements in his success.
We can also include there large support from business community all over the province as part of his positive attitude in public eye. Half of the current Cabinet stands behind Kevin Falcon on his road to the premiership, including some of the strongest and the most powerful cabinet members are on his team.
Public it seems accept very well his policies and ideas how to improve BC future and set new path for BC future. But all this doesn’t mean that Kevin Falcon will win at the end, on February 26, he will need much more then colloquial support from public and his party colleagues. He will need some luck and real voters support, including possible preferential support from other candidates.
Even if he’s not one of the Top Three candidates for Gordon Campbell’s successor former Attorney-General and House Leader, Mike De Jong, run very successful and popular campaign beside a fact that he didn’t receive enormous support from his Liberal colleagues in BC Liberal caucus. Since he started a campaign he well know just as Open Mike, happy, cheerful and open men who’s able to attract huge crowds on all sort of events organized by his team.
Up to this moment Mike De Jong attracted major media attention with his proposal to lower voting age for young BC citizens from 18 to 16 years-of-age. As I wrote here earlier De Jong’s idea is not without good sense and it shouldn’t be discharged as bad in next few years before we cast votes again in 2013.
His campaign said that they signup 10.000 new BC Liberal members who will be able to cast a vote on February 26 and to elect new premier. Apparently Mike De Jong wouldn’t be one of the top candidates on that day, but his 10.000 votes will help someone to succeed Gordon Campbell.
During campaign De Jong was under a big pressure from public related to his decision in BC Rail case to pay $6 million to lawyers of Basi and Virk. He’s response was that everything was done by the law and under the law rule, and that he didn’t did anything illegal or in close connection with possible cover up regarding BC Rail case. That situation caused numerous calls for full and independent inquiry in BC Rail case, but largest pressure from this story was diverted from him on Christy Clark and her role in that case.
Prank or populist spin
Christy Clark is one more time in center of public attention. New scandal theory says that one her volunteers signup, currently is unclear his/her, cat as member of BC Liberals on behalf of Christy Clark. For some this situation is just right cause to start making fun of Christy Clark and her campaign to become premier and leader.
This case can be discussed in two separate, independent but severely dangerous scenarios not only for her campaign but also for party. First scenario is: someone in her, or rival, campaign just wanted to damage her campaign or to plot that on rivals in effort to ensure that Christy Clark will win on next elections. Second scenario is: her campaign intentionally signup this cat as member of the party to make populist move which will help her to repair her public image badly damaged with repeatedly mentioned BC Rail case and other unpopular events close to her previous political and public work.
Anyways times will show to us what the truth about this event is. What I’m expecting from BC Liberal party is to start wide and total investigation in all membership applications and to determine that there are no any cats, elephants or crocodiles among the new BC Liberals And once more if she really wants to be real leader and open leader Christy Clark should come out and call for an inquiry and not blame whole situation on rival candidates.
Debate and convention
Just to mention next week BC Liberal party will hold an extraordinary convention in Vancouver Convention Centre and few other locations to determine if they will change voting system from one member-one vote to equally weighted system. On a same date all six candidates will meet for a third and for now last time on a party organized debate in Vancouver, everyone is hoping that this debate will be strong and powerful enough to help new and old members to decide who will their next leader.