From now on until May of next year BC Premier Christy Clark will be faced with one of the greatest challenges in her political career. Challenge in which her sole quest is to remain in power and to claim victory over the BC NDP on next provincial elections. On that quest beside positive policies, new promises of change and introduction of new benefits for the citizens, Clark would need to find a whole bunch of new quality candidates able to replace those who left BC Liberals ranks last week. That challenge would show to us either she’s leader who knows how to change course of political life from bad to good, or that she was just transit stop on the road to some new BC Liberals or totally new party.
There are already speculations about her, party and coalition future which are including some of the recently resigned BC Liberals, but also possibility that new leaders or even new parties will emerge on BC political scene in a days following next elections. As we all know latests polls, especially those presented by Angus Reid, are showing that BC voters are on the way to shift their support towards Orange Crush and elect Adrian Dix with significant majority in 2013. This could be easily changed and improved if Christy Clark implements proper campaign and political options but still she’ll have one more problem to solve before claiming election victory.
That problem to Clark and her campaign team would be to change relationship with the most powerful enemies – media and public over the next few crucial months and steer them away from Dix and NDP. One of the most interesting areas for BC Liberals and their future in the government will be Surrey, one of the fastest growing communities in BC and area which is very friendly to BC NDP and NDP recently. And on the next elections BC Liberals would need two really popular candidates to keep two ridings from falling into the BC NDP hands. Question is are they able to find those two individuals?
Falcon and Hayer are out
Above all other members of BC Liberals caucus who decided last week to go one name is highly important and it’s replacement will play very important deal in BC Liberals political future. Of course I’m talking about Kevin Falcon, fmr. Deputy Premier and Finance Minister, who decided to follow Clark’s steps and to departure politics due to his wishes to spend more time with his family. Over the last decade or so Falcon was one of the rare MLA’s with stable, continuous and even growing support. During the last year leadership campaign he signed huge new membership population, come 2nd behind Clark and took in his hands one of the most troubling portfolios in the cabinet. And he didn’t disappointed those who believe that he is capable and smart enough to start changing fiscal situation in BC, adding that to his great work on cutting red tape which was left to the BC Liberals by previous governments.
Now he’s leaving beside a fact that he promised to Clark and party membership that he would stay no matter what adding that party’s future and well being is one of his priorities. Well no one including his political enemies or friends can’t really object his wish to spend more time with his family and to be engaged more is rising his children, but what could be behind this decision in political way is one of the most interesting questions at the moment. There’s few answers on it. First is that he’s really tired of politics and wants to start new calm and easier phase in his life, and that the future is hidden in private sector where he can achieve new big results for BC. Second is that he’s just jumping sinking bridge in the moments when everything is going down, with intention to wait right moment to come back and to take full leadership responsibility steering BC in totally different direction either as the BC Liberals leader or as the leader of some new political party. And third possible answer is that Falcon will spend two years or so in the private sector as transitional phase while he’s waiting on his chance to run in federal election for CPC. Which ever of these answers prove right Falcon is doing a right thing, he leaves politics when he’s popular, doing great work as the finance minister, and leaves doors open for possible comeback in the soon or later future.
Other very interesting riding is Surrey-Tynehead, currently represented by, Dave Hayer one of the very popular MLA’s and very active MLA’s. Hayer is one of the first BC Liberals who announced that he would not run in the next election in 2013 and that he’s political future is probably somewhere else. Hayer’s popularity over the last decade or so was based in the fact that he represented one of the largest ethnic communities in the BC and that he delivered waste majority of his election promises while visibly representing community and Surrey while protecting their and province interests. In a case of this particular riding BC NDP presumptive candidate is on the campaign trail for a long period of time knocking on the doors and trying to swing a riding to the opposition side. That could be significant disadvantage to BC Liberals if they don’t come with strong enough candidate which would quickly acquire visible support and brought in stable voters base.
Of course as that is happening with Falcon everybody in Surrey is interested to learn what is next for Dave Hayer. While he’s first statements where telling us that he would think about his future and political aspirations, everybody including myself is pretty sure that Hayer’s future is in politics. Of course when you’re leaving provincial politics only direction in which you could go is federal level, beside that Surrey’s federal riding system will be changed soon and there’s chance for Hayer to run and to become MP in 2015. Based on what we already know about him winning support in his quest on the road to House of Commons shouldn’t be hard job and which ever federal party nominates him, shouldn’t be too much worrying about that riding.
Who’s coming in?
Speculations season is opened and as soon Falcon stepped down last week we heard first names of possible successors. As that happen last year during leadership campaign first name to emerge as possible replacement for Kevin Falcon is Mayor of Surrey Dianne Watts. Ultra popular Mayor Watts was and still is the best candidate for the top provincial positions to many, especially to voters in Lower Mainland and of course in Vancouver/Surrey area.
Last year Watts swiftly rejected any possibility to run for BC Liberals leadership claiming her family as one of the most important jobs to do and time needed to be with her daughters, beside that she said that her main political focus is on Surrey and it’s future. Just few months after that, following terrible back injury, and still in the recovery process, she won her third mayoral term with probably largest support in the BC with almost 50,000 votes more than her first closest rival.
Recently I had a chance to talk to Mayor Watts about this and as she said in her tweets and in media statements she still wants to continue great work in the City of Surrey which is currently under the great redevelopment. While she’s still remains in Surrey as the Mayor and the leader of the Surrey First coalition I’m pretty sure that once in the future maybe after this term or next term, her 4th as the Mayor, and in some other political circumstances she would step on the provincial political scene and took that leadership role. Although in politics you can’t be 100% sure that this or that will happen, so that also means that changes in her opinion regarding possible run are always on the table.
On the other side I learned from various sources that we shouldn’t be surprised if in coming weeks other local and Lower Mainland well known political names emerge as the possible successors in Surrey-Cloverdale riding. At this point I can’t disclose any names, but I’m quite sure that if any of those found their way to the BC Liberals nomination list they’ll be great replacement for Kevin Falcon. When it comes to Hayer replacement I didn’t hear any concrete speculations but as the nomination process is slowly gearing up those names should come to public radar really soon. I’m pretty sure that one of those would be a name of the candidate who would be able to attract same amount of votes in South East Asian Community as Hayer was doing in the past terms.