Late last night BC public learned through The Globe and Mail article, authored by Justine Hunter, apparently BC government and Premier Clark overstepped financial boundaries for proposed Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) project in Prince George. Details regarding this new chapter in this controversy which includes Premier Clark and two of her powerful ministers Bell and Bond were provided by former Finance Minister and outgoing MLA, Kevin Falcon. Mr. Falcon who’s well known as very open and straightforward politician once more proved that he’s gonna speak his mind and let people what’s on the table despite possible repercussions or criticisms. Earlier today Premier Clark, who’s spending more time fighting scandals (latest is apparent sexist comments related to her ex-husband about which you can read in Laila Yuile article), explaining what her staff did or didn’t do, come out to brush off Falcon claims claiming her surprise that someone would comment on this project. Apparently Premier has more and more reasons to spend commenting on provincial or personal problems not related to campaign or policies presented by her team. In line with that we can expect more and more comments like these, also we can expect other former ministers or MLA’s to speak their mind and finally reveal what public needs to know regarding numerous problems, projects or controversies of which some are old as much as BC Liberals are in power. On the other side retired Surrey Mayor and long-term Councillor, Bob Bose, spoke with Georgia Straight about Falcon’s distancing from Clark also addressing Falcon’s future political career.
“I don’t know what motivates anybody’s comments, but the thing is, at the end of the day, this project is happening. Particularly over a period of time…projects will change, the scope of things will change, budgets will change”, said Premier Clark according to CBC report.
One thing is certain, projects will change and will reshape budgetary frame, but the question is what promises Premier and ministers gave to people involved in this project. If it’s really true what at that time Minister Falcon said, government had just about $25m set aside for this project which was projected on $100m. So that’s about 1/4 or even less than that. To be honest I’m more inclined to believe Mr. Falcon because he was trusted with province finances and he had the best knowledge how much money was available to be spent on this project. In a times when we’re talking about reducing provincial debt and going into the black my questions is: Could this project and it’s financing become just another pre-election promise which will be scrapped later due to lack of funds or some other project will be sacrificed to finance it? Judging by Mr. Falcon’s words in The Globe and Mail interview the later could be more realistic than the former.
Long-term Surrey, BC Councillor and three term Mayor, Bob Bose, who has very extensive knowledge about BC politics, also commented Falcon’s interview and possible reasons for it. While I predicted that Mr. Falcon is doing that to open a space for himself to run for BC Liberals leadership in a case of Premier Clark fall from power, Mr. Bose believes it’s start of Mr. Falcon federal political career. In an interview with Georgia Straight, Mr. Bose said:
“The way I would read it is he’s trying to distance himself from Christy Clark and position himself for a federal run. That would be my guess,” adding that there’s possibility that new federal Conservatives and Liberals coalition could be formed in BC following May 14 elections.
Seeing Kevin Falcon going up on the political ladder wouldn’t be surprise. Successful Transportation, Health, Deregulation and Finance Minister would be very welcomed to the federal politics scene, and Prime Minister Harper would probably be happy to find a space on junior ministerial position for him while preparing him for senior position. Some of Mr. Falcon MLA colleagues are also suspected to run for federal Conservatives in 2015 so that would be also nice chance for him to boost CPC presence in BC. My thought is if Mr. Falcon decides to run federally one of the “retired” Conservatives MP’s with decent popularity and abilities to fight with NDP and presumptive Premier Adrian Dix will be brought in to lead new Conservative-Liberal coalition in British Columbia.