On February 3, 2018, BC Liberal members will vote on whom they want to be the next leader and hopefully the next premier too. I have still not decided yet, but I have narrowed it down to three choices so below is my choices from last to the top three.
6. Sam Sullivan – He will be my last choice. He is my MLA and while a decent person, his policies are incoherent and sometimes says dumb stuff so I fear choosing him would making winning the next election difficult.
5. Mike de Jong – He is a very capable cabinet minister and a strong debater so certainly someone I could fully support if he wins. The main reason for ranking him 5th is he has been MLA since 1994 so very much part of the old guard. For good or ill, people voted for change on May 9, 2017 and I feel if we have someone too heavily tied to the past administrations that will weigh us down. So nothing against him, just feel his ties to past administration are too strong and we need to move beyond that, otherwise look forward not back.
4. Diane Watts – Originally she was my first choice, but having watched her in the debates and her lack of details on policy, I don’t think she is ready for primetime yet. Also she doesn’t have a seat in the legislature and with a minority that matters. She was a successful mayor of Surrey and being from the Lower Mainland, female, and not tied to the past administration are all assets, but still feel she is not quite ready to hit the ground running. Otherwise by 2021 she could easily learn the ropes to be a good leader, but if the government falls before then my worry is she won’t fully be ready and we need someone who is ready to go from day one.
Top Three Choices in Alphabetical Order not necessarily order of choice
1. Michael Lee
Advantages: New MLA so no negative baggage from past administration, has a detailed and realistic plan that will help move BC forward, visible minority (yes this matters, being a minority, woman, or LGBT is especially helpful for parties on the right as many wrongly assume those on the right are all angry old white men), from Vancouver where we did poorly, good at signing up members thus showing he is a strong campaigner.
Weaknesses: New on the scene so not sure if he is the best one to debate Horgan, his responses to the questionnaire Right Now show he is pro-life which while this shouldn’t matter for provincial politics, the NDP will undoubtedly use this against him and that could be problematic amongst women, millennials, and urban residents who we need to do better amongst.
2. Todd Stone
Advantages: Capable cabinet minister, very strong debater, younger so can appeal to the next generation, and knows his files well.
Weaknesses: From the interior which is already strongly BC Liberal and with the NDP relying on the Greens to stay afloat will likely stay that way so can he bring about policies to help us breakthrough in the Lower Mainland is key as we need to win more seats there.
3. Andrew Wilkinson
Advantages: Great organizer which is key to running a strong campaign, knows his files well, from Vancouver where we need to do better, has little negative baggage, and a strong debater.
Weaknesses: Has zero charisma and while this shouldn’t matter, if we want to win we must do better amongst the under 40 crowd and being dull and boring may not hurt you amongst the over 65 crowd, but will amongst the under 40.
So I have narrowed it down to three, over the next few weeks will read their policies in details before making a final decision. Would love to hear any input from anyone who is also a BC Liberal member. That being said no matter which of the six win, I pledge to offer my full support and will both donate and campaign for whomever is chosen. Unlike federally where I cannot donate or campaign for a Scheer led Conservative party (I will probably still vote for them provided they don’t do anything too stupid), I fully support the platforms of all six so its not about voting for the lesser of two evils like it is federally, but voting for what I want.