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The two leadership races

´╗┐The early skirmishing has begun in the races to decide who will be the next premier and leader of the opposition.

In the former case, Christy Clark, Mike DeJong and Kevin Falcon seem to be the front runners while in the latter, though there are no declared candidates, it would seem to be Adrian Dix, Mike Farnworth and John Horgan.

With the Liberals, two things must, I think, be borne on mind – the Liberal voting procedure is not yet tested and the decision will tell us if the urban or rural vote is favoured. If it’s the rule, George Abbott comes into the picture.

Christy is the “charisma queen” and given that the Liberals tend to worry most about getting a winner whatever the cost, she must rank as leader in the race – for the time being.

But as Kim Campbell said of Bill Vander Zalm though she didn’t name him, “Charisma without substance is a dangerous thing”. So be it with Ms Clark. Her strong suit is her deep connections to the party; her problem is that she cannot escape the sale of BC Rail decision and will be faced by many British Columbians who will connect her support of privatization to the dangers facing BC Hydro.

Speaking of party strength, Kevin Falcon will be the “Campbellite” favourite but it remains to be seen if that is a plus or minus. His selection would be greeted with shrills of delight from the NDP since Falcon is the most loyal of all to the Campbell loyalists. Again, if he is seen as unelectable or close in the polls, he’ll not get the nod.

Mike DeJong has the advantage of being able to stand back from many controversies because he was Attorney-General and, moreover, has said he will axe the HST.

What DeJong cannot avoid is his position on the Basi-Virk scandal. He ordered the pay-out and the settlement just in time to save Campbell and former Finance Minister Gary Collins from having to testify.

What’s for sure is that the polls, as campaigns move along, will be a very serious factor

The NDP is, like the Liberal Party, a coalition. Unlike the Liberals they tend to favour a leader who has the fewest serious enemies in the party without much regard as to whether he/she can win.

Mike Farnworth is the experienced one having been in the cabinet as well as showing considerable ability in the Legislature and on the hustings. That he’s gay is seen rightly, as irrelevant, except in the Bible Belt where people get very antsy about such matters.

John Horgan, seen as the favourite of the environmentalist community has only one problem: his health. On the former matter, he’s the best read and strongest of the lot and, if as I suspect, the environment is a big issue he would do well.

In one way, Adrian Dix is the best of the candidates because he’s an alley fighter, a take no prisoners campaigner. If he gets the nod, he’ll be tough and you would see many Liberal references to Dix’s creative memo back in the Clark days.

The biggest problem for the NDP is putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. Whenever you have the sort of political homicide that saw Carole James “done-in” the wounds remain deep – especially with the NDP the divisions of which take eons to go away, if they ever do.

Each party has an elephant in the room.

For the Liberals, it’s Carole Taylor who, though she has ruled it out, might just get in the race (which would no longer be a race) if the bloodletting threatens the party itself.

For the NDP it’s Corky Evans who denies any such ambitions but has been sending forth long, philosophical mail-outs which usually only happens when the writer is at least saying “if you really have trouble keeping the party alive and well, I will, with seemly reluctance, come to the rescue”. I don’t believe that the party wants him that badly – he’s lost two prior leadership contests but he would be a terrific campaigner,

There is another possibility arising – a “third” party of the centre. The window of time is limited but it’s there and I’ll forbear comment until the picture clears a bit.

4 Responses to “The two leadership races”

  1. G Ruiz says:

    Corky Evans is an American socialist, so that rules him out. Adrian Dix is also very left-wing, so that ruins his chances. As for Mike De Jong, his decision to forgive the expenses of Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk is his downfall.

  2. Kim says:


    Here’s my pick. Thanks Rafe, thoughtful and balanced commentary, as always.

  3. James says:

    Alex Tsakumis – complains no main stream media are onto the Christy Clark BC Rail story. You read him and he says you speak on the phone. What is your take on this story?


  4. […] Rafe Mair puts out a few opinions on leadership candidates. His suggestion of Corky Evans as a possibility is particularly interesting for two reasons. Corky and Rafe spent time together recently and the subject came up once or twice between them. Additionally, Corky consciously returned to centre stage when he joined the fray pushing for Carole James to be dumped. So, perhaps the aging gent has fired up his ambitions again. […]

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