Kevin Falcon, one of five candidates for the leadership of the BC Liberals, spent a couple of days in the Kootenays this week on the barbecue circuit.
Falcon joined supporters of the BC Liberal Party at a meet and greet in the shade by the Colombo Lodge bocce pits in Cranbrook on Monday evening, June 28. Further stops on the tour were scheduled for Fernie and the Columbia Valley over the coming days.
“I’m here to talk to members and potential members about my vision for the BC Liberal Party,” Falcon told the Townsman in Cranbrook.
Falcon said that vision involves a “complete root and branch reboot of the party. That includes everything from a new name to new ideas to new energy, to get people excited again about the fact that we need a free enterprise alternative that’s really going to give people a choice, so that that they can support us in the next election three and a half years from now.”
Falcon served as the MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale from 2001 to 2013. He was in the cabinet of both the BC Liberal governments of Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark. In 2011, he ran for the party leadership to replace Gordon Campbell, losing narrowly to Christy Clark. He retired from politics ahead of the 2013 election.
After 10 years in the private sector, Falcon is seeking his return to the political ring.
“I had a wonderful time in the private sector. It was very, very good to me and my family. But I really care about this province. I’m doing this not because it’s easy, not because it’s great for my family — it’s not, I’ve got two young daughters, 11 and eight. I love them dearly. The sacrifice of having to be away from them is hard, frankly. But I do love this province and this country very much, and that’s why I’m doing this.”
Ten years is a long time in politics. Have things changed very much?
“It’s different in the sense that social media plays a much bigger role in politics,” he said. “but the thing about me is that I’ve never forgotten that what’s really important in politics is the grassroots. Although social media will always have a role to play, I’ve never lost sight of the fact that for us to be a strong party we have to do the kind of things that we’re doing here. Where you meet with folks over a glass of wine, talk with them in their living rooms and church basements … just building the party from the grassroots up.”
Those in attendance at the meet-and-greet Monday evening included former Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett and current MLA Tom Shypitka.
Also seeking the leadership of the BC Liberal Party are Val Litwin, former President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce; Ellis Ross, MLA for Skeena; Gavin Dew, a Vancouver business consultant, and Michael Lee, MLA for Vancouver-Langara.