Monday, November 15, 2010

Meanwhile, in BC

The BC Libs have set the rules to replace Gordon Campbell...kind of.

The plan is to use a riding-by-riding weighted point system, similar to how the federal Tories picked Harper and how the Ontario Tories picked Hudak. It's also the system the federal grits will use the next time they have a leadership race, unless of course they feel like just appointing someone again.

The catch is that they'll need to hold a special AGM in February to change the rules. As you might imagine, changing the rules for a leadership race in the midst of a leadership race isn't the easiest thing to accomplish.

So this leaves a lot of uncertainty, and could mean Gordon Campbell stays on until May.

As for the contenders, Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts (who struck me as the best candidate from what little I know of the candidates) has decided to take a pass. Carole Taylor has also ruled out a return to politics, although from what I've read, the door is still somewhat ajar there.

Among other high profile candidates, some rumours have circled around Harper Cabmin James Moore, though I have a hard time seeing why a 34 year old Cabinet Minister would want to jump into a job that could very likely leave him unemployed in a little over two years. Plus, it's not like being Heritage Minister is a bad gig - you get to go to movie premiers and meet cool wrestlers. Sounds like more fun than selling the HST to me.

The recently retired Keith Martin has also been rumoured, though I feel that speculation is more based on "let's toss out random names of BC politicians" than on any sort of reality.

So that leaves us with possible candidates Rich Coleman, Kevin Falcon, George Abbott, Mike de Jong, Christy Clark and Blair Lekstrom. And, presumably, Frank McKenna.

I don't know nearly enough about these candidates to offer any kind of insight on this race. From what I've seen online so far, BC2013 seems to be the go-to site but if you know of other blogs, feel free to post links in the comments section.

UPDATE: The leadership vote will be February 26th...less than two weeks after the vote to change the leadership selection rules.

One would think this kind of chaos could be avoided by a party in power, with an outgoing leader everyone knew was leaving, and two and a half years out from the next fixed date election. But, I guess not.

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  • Chuck Strahl is a more likely candidate than James Moore. Well liked by conservatives and begrudgingly by rural NDP, an excellent parliamentarian, and experience in the BC Liberals two perceived strengths: aboriginal affairs and infrastructure. Plus, I think he'd probably like to be closer to home, after his recent health scare. The only problem would be finding him a Chilliwack area riding, as both John Les and Barry Penner are pretty well entrenched. Perhaps Randy Hawes can be convinced to retire?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:50 a.m.  

  • Chuck Strahl was introduced as a joke - he immediately denied any interest. Same with Christy Clark who has also indicated she is not interested.

    In a recent Ottawa Sun article, James was called and asked if he was interested in running and he had no comment - that means he hasn't said no!

    I think you underestimate him. James would be a very strong candidate for the BC Liberals

    1) He's fiscially consevative and socially moderate
    2) He is only 34 years old and has a history of hard work.
    3) Unlike the rest of the candidates, he is an outsider who has flexibility in policy decisions that current MLAs (Falcon, Coleman) do not have.
    4) He is recognized throughout parliament as a person everyone can work with.

    Number three is the most important here - poll after poll has showed that voters want change in the form of someone outside the BC Liberals. I think James is a clear alternative and could quite possibly be the frontrunner if he were to throw his hat in the ring.

    As for not wanting to, the guy is 34! He has many years to figure his career out. And as a recent poll showed, with a new leader, the BC Liberals sit only 6% points back from the NDP.

    If want any more information please feel free to contact the "Draft James Moore Campaign"

    Geoff S
    Campaign to Draft James Moore for BC Liberal Leader
    Campaign Co-Chair
    Twitter: @draftjamesmoore

    By Anonymous Geoff S, at 1:08 a.m.  

  • Well, Geoff kinda stole my thunder here. I was going to point out the suite of Draft Moore website/Facebook/Twitter accounts (which almost never happens unless the potential candidate is behind it), plus the fact that they're actually running online ads, which makes the chance of it being a spontaneous, unofficial campaign even lower.

    Add in the "no comment" thing, and yeah, we can be pretty sure that James Moore is seriously considering it.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 1:48 a.m.  

  • James Moore is a joke: Rachel Marsden anyone? Can he have daddy stack this nomination too?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:50 a.m.  

  • They definitely need an outsider, which would make Moore a good choice.

    It would be a risky career move for him, which is why I don't think he'd do it, but you never know.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:12 a.m.  

  • Anonymous - James Moore is anything but a joke - he is one of the most honest and dedicated elected officials I have ever met. He's been successful because he works hard and consistently exceeds expectations - not because anyone has given anything to him - and that's why he'd be an instant contender if he entered the BC Liberal leadership race

    By Anonymous Phil, at 12:24 p.m.  

  • Christy Clark initially said "no", but it appears that this may be changing.

    More references are appearing in the Vancouver Sun, saying that she is now thinking about it. There is also a "Draft Christy" page on Facebook:!/DraftChristy

    A popular CKNW talk show host who left Campbell's government four years ago, would be able to bring back the centre to the Liberal Party, and has a province-wide reach with her radio show.

    Given her love for politics and her background in BC politics, she's a far more likely - and more attractive - candidate than Moore.

    Moore was also always a strong supporter of Christy Clark when she was the MLA for Port Moody, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Moore back Clark.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:31 p.m.  

  • While he remains an unlikely candidate, I continue to think that Blair Lekstrom would be sheer awesome in terms of the political theatre that this vote needs to be. And Lekstrom is a known quantity who is familiar with the Party's inner terrain.

    But from what I've heard, we should expect to see Kevin Falcon as the likely winner. Which is, needless to say, largely a lost opportunity for the Liberals.

    By Anonymous Scott H. Payne, at 1:41 p.m.  

  • Hm, check that. Apparently Lekstrom is less unlikely than I thought. Just goes to show that it always pays to Google before you comment.

    By Anonymous Scott H. Payne, at 1:48 p.m.  

  • I like James Moore and while I immediatly mentioned his name as a candidate at I would rather see him kick out Harper and become the Conservative leader. A great candidate though.

    By Blogger Jordan, at 2:29 p.m.  

  • Blair Lekstrom is the MLA in the riding directly to the south of me (Dawson Creek) and because of that I have some familiarity with the former DC mayor.

    He was rumoured for a while to be a possible candidate for Jay Hill's seat with the federal Conservatives, and would almost certainly win that race if he ran. Because he resigned from provincial cabinet back in June he has great credibility as an outsider and an independant, but because he did it in such a respectful way there's also a good chance he hasn't burned all his bridges within the party. His recent description of Campbell as "professional" can be seen in a similar light.

    He's wildly popular up north, but I don't know that he has enough of an organization in the south for a successful leadership run.

    By Blogger Jonathan Willis, at 12:18 p.m.  

  • The problem with Falcon, Coleman and de Jong is that they're all perceived as being close to the premier. Campbell's continuing 'I expect my caucus to continue my decisions because they supported my decisions' quotes to the media might help them with a leadership race but they aren't making them any more electable in a provincial election.

    Still, if I had to put money down I'd bet on Falcon winning, as Campbell is still extremely popular in certain sectors and Falcon's widely viewed as the Campbell candidate (should he run at all).

    By Blogger Jonathan Willis, at 12:23 p.m.  

  • Quite useful information, much thanks for this post.

    By Anonymous, at 2:06 a.m.  

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