UPDATE: As predicted by Alan Forseth in this column, Kevin Falcon did, indeed, announce his candidacy last night (May 18, 2021) for the leadership of the BC Liberals.
TONIGHT AT 7 p.m., British Columbians can expect to hear Kevin Falcon declare himself a candidate for the leadership of the BC Liberal Party.
He will enter a field that few could dispute is very small, given past leadership races, which has led me (at least) to question and wonder if many are thinking the time for the BC Liberals is over? If not, perhaps their time in the penalty box isn’t over yet, and the timer on the scoreboard is still running down.
As most people will know, Falcon ran, and was defeated, in the 2011 Liberal leadership race, which he lost to former Premier Christy Clark. After her electoral defeat in 2017, he continued working for an investment firm staying out of the next leadership race won by Andrew Wilkinson.
Up until yesterday his campaign website had a blurred image of him with the heading of “Ready.” Today that had changed to “Set,” and it’s hard to image the next image will be anything but him front and centre with the heading of “Go.”
For the other two declared candidates, Gavin Drew is probably far less known than two-term MLA Ellis Ross (Skeena riding) who prior to entering provincial politics had been chief councilor of the Haisla Nation in 2011 after first being elected as a councilor in 2003.
So far, the Liberal leadership race has been more known for those who have no interest in running – those include Kamloops South MLA Todd Stone … current interim leader Shirley Bond … former Surrey mayor and Conservative MP Dianne Watts who ran in a failed Liberal leadership bid in which Wilkinson became leader (she is supporting Kevin Falcon) … and others including former TV journalist Jas Johal (a one-term MLA), along with 2018 candidate Mike de Jong (finished 5th), and current MLA Mike Bernier.
Two declarations of NO interest were actually quite entertaining.
One was Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West; who in a radio interview I was listening to basically said “Hell No!”, after the question of running was put to him several times, in various ways. His out and out revulsion was very apparent.
The other was former TV news anchor and failed federal Liberal candidate Tamara Taggart. Here’s what she had to say — “If I told you I was running for the BC Liberal leadership and you didn’t smack me across the head, I would be very disappointed. No, absolutely not. Are you kidding me?” (Episode #106 of This is VANCOLOUR podcast).
In a race with just three candidates, I would have to think Falcon to be the clear leader, but the campaign of Ellis Ross – which calling it low key would be a understatement – is the one I will be keeping an eye on.
Falcon’s announcement tonight will be well outside of hitting major TV and radio news casts as well as newspapers, which is extremely odd, but once it’s over we’ll be able to say … “And then there was three”.
Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada and the B.C. Reform Party, and a past and current member of the BC Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.