VANCOUVER/SURREY – BC Liberal party made on Saturday great step ahead in opening all possibilities to all regions and territories of the BC to be important part in inner-party election process later this month. Overwhelmingly delegates supported equally weighted system of voting which will equalize all reading and all candidates in effort to succeed Gordon Campbell on a position of premier and leader of the party.
More than 1300 delegates votes in favour of proposed changes of party constitution from one man – one vote system to weighted system adding there new rule which says that every casted ballot must to contain at least two names of leadership candidates. Rural BC regions also give a huge and unanimous support to proposed changes of constitution, beside fears of some candidates that this change will be declined.
During debate regarding should this new system of casting ballots be accepted or overruled we heard from five out of six candidates strong support which was mainly based on party unity and wish for all part to be equal. Small crowd showed up to run against this proposition but their stands and arguments were almost without any proper impact on BC Liberals, that was clearly visible when the result of the vote come in with less than 50 votes against.
Following extraordinary convention in Vancouver Convention Centre party held leadership debate which was more Q&A session than debate. Beside the fact that this format of face to face gathering of all candidates is pretty boring and for media’s especially uninteresting, on Saturday afternoon we saw some very promising and quality ideas presented by candidates.
Three out of six candidates were in my opinion much better than remaining three. Dr. Moira Stilwell, George Abbott and Kevin Falcon showed pretty strong and energetic devotion to party and effort to work on a behalf of the party and the province. Clear ideas and clear answers on posted questions help them to show that there is leadership material which could be used on behalf of all BC citizens. Stilwell talked about health, education and judiciary system from her own experiences as doctor, professor and lawyer’s daughter and showed that she has knowledge how to change things. I must to agree with her stand that she’s good listener because she spent 30 years as doctor in everyday contact with patients, my advice to new premier whoever that person is to keep Stilwell in the Cabinet as one of the best possible members of it especially in area of health.
George Abbott experienced farmer with three decades of work in that field showed to BC public his ability to handle many of the most challenging positions in the Cabinet and to the successful in his work. His work and ability to build healthy and quality personal relations with members of Cabinet and caucus able him to be one of the most supported candidates for premiership. If nothing Abbott will be great adviser to new premier and his/her team in the future.
Even if we didn’t saw any clear or clarified attacks on Christy Clark two candidates Abbott and Falcon, strongly suggested that Clark is not sincere with public and membership regarding her political future.
As I mentioned her, Clark’s, unwillingness to inform us about her political future was one of the elements which are putting many BC Liberal members on the edge not to vote for her on February 26th, not even as second choice on their ballots. There are also two very disturbing facts regarding her appearance on this debate. First is constant mentioning of her former employer CKNW radio station which she left last year to enter this race. We all know that she was excellent radio talk-show host but we don’t need constant advertisements to mentioned station. Also she’s mentioning her previous work at BC Legislature and that is very disturbing because she escaped from there leaving tons and tons of unfinished work, and several highly interesting scandals.
As it was expected Mike De Jong was cheerful and happy candidate who has some quality ideas but on Saturday’s debate he was missing some strong force to keep attention of present supporters and those one who watched debate online. On the other side Ed Mayne, candidate who enters the race last, present himself as a person without charisma, unsecure and inexperienced in dealing with public speaking. Constant looking into the papers, reading out of them and losing a line in mid of sentence were just elements which pushed away possible supporters of his leadership bid. That’s puts away all his qualities and knowledge because in politics you must to have a confidence in yourself and be able to talk to people without reading every single word from the paper.
For next debates we need more freedom for candidates to exchange thoughts and ideas about provincial future and party future. Open honest and sincere debate will help everyone to engage members in decision process and help them to decide whom to support in this or some completely new race.