Let's Keep BC United
The NDP and their ideological allies are fanning the flames of rural alienation and even separatism.
I don’t want to see the urban-rural divide become a new provincial border - a line from Banff to Bella Coola, as someone recently put it to me.
Between the NDP’s assault on people and families who depend on primary industries like forestry and their cynical move to water down rural representation, it’s no wonder people are fuming.
It’s no wonder they’re talking increasingly seriously about separating from BC or joining Alberta.
Well, in the face of rural alienation, I believe in a united British Columbia. But it won’t come easy. That’s why we need a new leader who will keep both our party and our province united. I’ll do that.
I’m proud of the ideas I’ve put out in this campaign, including my plan for a Minister of Rural Communities, whose full time job is to connect the dots across government to make things better for rural communities.
And I’m proud of the work I’ve done in the resource sector, including working to get the Trans Mountain Expansion Project approved and built.
As a province and as a country, we need to get better at getting to yes - not create more and more uncertainty and instability that scares away investment and jobs.
And as members of a political party that cares about all of BC, we need to fight like heck against John Horgan’s effort to stack the deck before the next election.
The NDP has given a mandate to the Electoral Boundaries Commission that removes protection of 17 large but sparsely populated electoral districts.
On a strict representation-by-population formula, there could be as few as 5 or 6 seats left representing two thirds of the landmass of the BC.
A more realistic scenario could mean reallocating, say, 6 of the 17 seats to fast-growing urban areas of the province.
The NDP have also directed the Commission to add up to 6 additional seats to the Legislature, for a total of 93 seats.
People in the North, the Kootenays, and the Central Interior are deeply concerned about losing effective representation - it already takes days to drive across ridings the size of countries. A reduction in seats could lead to a court challenge over the Charter right to effective representation.
Even so, a shift in voting power from rural to urban and suburban BC seems almost inevitable, and our party must be ready.
Lots of new seats will be added to the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, where the BC Liberal “blue wall” collapsed in the last election. The tide has gone out so far that we lost Chilliwack and Langley and most of Richmond.
Things have changed over the last few election cycles. Rightly or wrongly, we have lost relevance and trust with urban and suburban voters, especially middle-of-the-road voters and the next generation of young people and families. In the City of Vancouver, where there are already 11 ridings, we went from 45% of the vote and 6 seats to 30% of the vote and 2 seats over the course of 3 elections.
We need to be prepared to win the next election on a new and more challenging electoral map. That means we need to win back seats in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, and we need to stop surrendering Island and Coastal seats.
It’s going to be an uphill battle, but I’m ready to take the fight to the NDP.
I was born and raised in Vancouver, but I’ll stand up for all of BC.
As the son of an engineer who worked in a downtown office, mines and dams put food on my plate growing up. I spent years working to build support for responsible resource development and get the nation-building Trans Mountain Expansion Project approved.
Back in May 2021, I was the first BC Liberal leadership candidate to stand up for rural representation, including an interview on AM1150 and a letter to the editor in the Alaska Highway News. I’ve been talking about it every day since then. And I won’t stop.
Here’s the cold, hard reality.
No matter how successfully we push back on the NDP’s attempt to change the electoral playing field and strip away effective rural representation, the balance of power in BC will still keep shifting from rural to urban and suburban areas, based on population growth.
We need to prepare our party for the elections of the future.
To ensure rural BC has a voice in a BC Liberal government after the next election, we will need an even stronger performance in a diminished number of rural seats.
But we can't just defend - we also need to attack. We absolutely need to win back seats in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, and make inroads in island and coastal seats.
We don’t need to pick up our tent and move it to the left or to downtown Vancouver, but we sure do need to expand our tent if we don’t want this to become an NDP province.
If we want to form a government again, we’re going to need to turn the page on the baggage of the past, renew our appeal throughout the province, and build a bridge to the next generation of our natural voters: people and families who are working hard, playing by the rules, and striving to achieve the Canadian Dream.
That’s why I’m running to lead the BC Liberal Party, with a campaign that is bringing more young people and families into our voter coalition.
And it’s why I need your help to keep our party and our province united.
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