Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Ousiders" Who could be BC Liberal Leader

I know some of these people have said they have no interest, but for the purpose of looking at who there is and the qualities they bring I will be including some of them.

Dianne Watts

The mayor of Surrey is a clear front runner in the race to be leader.   She has not said yes or no to running.

She has been popular mayor of Surrey and certainly has been an important reason for the transition of Surrey from the butt of jokes to the defacto south of the Fraser downtown for Metro Vancouver.  I grew up in the Lower Mainland, in Tsawwassen to exact, and Surrey was at best a joke.  

She also shown in her election campaigns in Surrey that she can build a team and she can get elected against the odds.   She has a track record of success.   The problem she has is that she does not have a team in the rest of the province.

If she were leader of the Liberals I would give the Liberals better than even odds of winning the next provincial election.   The BC Liberals are doing better in Metro Vancouver than elsewhere in BC and with 48 seats from Hope to Squamish a strong showing here will make it realistic for the Liberals to be competitive in 2013.

Carole Taylor

She has said she has no interest in running and I tend to believe her.   She is 65 and will be 67 at the time of the next election and 71 at the end of her first full term as leader.   Her husband, Art Philips, is 80.   Everything says to me she is ready to ramp down her public life.  That said, she has a lot of positives going for her.

Carole Talyor has been a trailblazer among boomer generation women.    She came of age when where there still many roles women had never held, she broke some of these glass ceilings.  

She is well liked by a broad section of the public that knows who the political elite are in the province.

Kevin Falcon, who I believe has the strongest team in place for a run for the leadership, has said he would back her if she ran.

I am not convinced that is she were to run she would have the political gravitas or campaign experience to be able to make a big difference.    I see her being able to allow the Liberals to retain a reasonable sized caucus in opposition, but I can not see her wanting to leader of the opposition.   Maybe there is an interest in having her take on the leadership because she would step down sometime shortly after the 2013 election.

Christy Clark

I can not see her political ambitions being over.   They might be as being an afternoon talk show host on CKNW is a pretty nice gig and realistically gives some very significant political influence in the province.

She does have personal connections to a strong network across the province that allows her more than anyone else outside of the current caucus to be able to make a run at the top job.

She is personable and can talk well.  She is also not someone that could be called a right winger which mute much of the NDP campaign rhetoric.  She also knows the insides of politics and what it takes to win and what it takes to run a party.

Christy Clark is well placed to be the leader in 2013 and 2017 if the Liberals lose in 2013.    

Keith Martin

He has said he was not interested in running, but in listening to him on the radio it strikes me that the only reason he is not interested is that he is not an insider.   If the right person with an internal network within the BC Liberals were to come to him, he would be a strong candidate.   Given his problems with how the political system works from his 17 years as an MP, being premier would give him the chance to have the real power to change things.

He has been reelected in his riding because of personal popularity and not because of his party.   A lot of people left and right instinctively like him.  Even after 17 years as an MP he still has an aura of an anti-politician.

He would be a popular choice that the public could get behind, but can he be the leader of a party?  If he can be a leader I can see him keeping the Liberals doing OK, but I am not convinced he could defeat the NDP.

In order of who is the best choice

  • Dianne Watts - I think she is the only person that gives the Liberals a decent chance of winning
  • Christy Clark - I think she can retain a strong opposition caucus and would be a great leader of the opposition for a term
  • Keith Martin - Very much a wildcard, though I am not certain he could effectively run a province wide campaign.
  • Carole Taylor - I do not see the drive and ambition to be premier and I do not see the ability to run the sort of province wide campaign in an election that is needed to be able to have a chance to win in 2013

Suggestions I have not taken seriously:

  • John Furlong - he said no and I see no reason why he would try this as a retirement job?
  • Rick Hansen - he has never been in politics and has more than enough to keep him busy saving the world
  • James Moore MP - I can not see any Conservative MP changing parties to try and become the Liberal leader


Jonny Quest said...

Good synopsis Bernard. Watts and Taylor would be at the top of my list as they are savvy consensus builders. OTOH, Clark comes across as too abrasive and confrontational.

Nevertheless, the Lib party membership will also look at opinion polling as they want to go for someone that can win. Watts and Taylor are far out in front in that regard. Watts also has the gravitas to appeal to rural BC, suburban soccer moms, and urban Vancouverites.

If Watts continues to be out in front poll wise, no matter if she has an organization in place or not, people will move there.

Today Watts announced that she will make her decision early next week. Looks 50/50.

PS. Class of '81 Tsawwassen boy here as well. Best place in the world.

Bernard said...

Class of '83 here, though I learned to dislike the 'burbs growing up in Tsawwassen

Geoff S said...

Bernard, thanks for mentioning James Moore as a possible candidate.

I think you brush him off too lightly. At the age of 34, he would be an extremly young Premier - its not inconcievable he could return to federal politics at a later date.

As well, he is said to be actively considering it ( +

Final point - after looking at all the candidates, it really seems James Moore is the only one who can keep the liberal/conservative coalition together. He would have the power of the conservative electoral machine behind him - I can't think of any better way to put the BC Conservatives out of business. He is also respected across the floor as not overtly partisan and someone who everyone can work with.

These are just a few thoughts, I but I think you discount him too quickly.


Geoff S
Campaign to Draft James Moore for BC Liberal Leader
Campaign Co-Chair

PS - One interesting idea might be to do a post on the social media aspect of the leadership race. Currently James Moore and Christy Clarke are close, while others are lagging.

Anonymous said...

Chuck Strahl? John Baird seemed to think he may be interested and would make an interesting candidate. Strong on the two perceived BC Liberal strengths: aboriginal affairs and infrastructure. Well-respected parliamentarian, as he served as deputy speaker. His cancer seems to be in remission, but he may wish to be closer to home.