B.C. Conservative leader Dan Brooks is on a tour of the province.

B.C. Conservatives want to compete in 2017

Leader Dan Brooks is working to rebuild his fractured party with electoral reform and new industrial development

  • Nov. 23, 2015 5:00 p.m.

B.C. Conservative leader Dan Brooks stopped in Victoria last week on a tour of the province to prepare the party for the next election. Here are excerpts from his conversation with Black Press legislature reporter Tom Fletcher.

TF: There was a rumour that you’re in Victoria to join the B.C. Liberal Party.

DB: I don’t know where that started. It’s false. I’ve never talked to a Liberal about anything of that nature, ever.

TF: I only bring it up because the eternal question is whether your party can only split the B.C. Liberal coalition and help the NDP.

DB: On the contrary, I think what we’re doing is critical to the health of B.C.’s political system. We need Conservatives in that legislature. This is the opportunity to make wholesale change in B.C. It’s always been the lesser of two evils, the NDP and the Liberals. With a Conservative alternative, this is a chance to change the whole province.

TF: What’s the first thing you would change?

DB: Let’s strengthen our democracy right off the bat by banning corporate and union donations. That would take a lot of the power out of the hands of big unions and big corporations and their influence in the ministers’ offices. Let’s catch up with the rest of the world and modern democracies that do it too, including the federal government.

TF: Are you recruiting candidates? We’re up to 87 constituencies for the 2017 election. Can you field candidates in all of them?

DB: We are recruiting candidates, and we’re in the process of finding people who are going to help us build a better province, and help us win that election in 2017. I’m touring the province to listen to British Columbians so we can develop a platform that really speaks to what they want to see in the next government, and with the platform and candidates in place, we’re going to be prepared well in advance.

TF: We have an independent in the legislature right now. Have you spoken with Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington, and do you see her as a small-C conservative?

DB: I would see her that way, and she’s welcome to talk to me and join our movement. I’ve never spoken to her, though.

TF: Are you running in your home constituency of Nechako Lakes [currently held by B.C. Liberal Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad], and do you still see the party’s best chances in the North and the Interior?

DB: Absolutely. Those northern communities are very conservative. I was born and raised in Vanderhoof, and I know the Nechako Lakes area intimately. It votes Conservative federally, it wants to vote Conservative provincially, and I will give it that option in 2017.

And that is where we are going to win seats, for sure, but we can win seats in every region of this province with the right candidates and the right platform.

TF: The B.C. Liberals have a big push on for industrial development, particularly in the North. Do you support what they’re doing there?

DB: I support some aspects of what they’re doing. The liquefied natural gas dream, if it ever comes to fruition, I think is a good thing for B.C. I support pursuing that dream.

But the B.C. Liberals have really neglected northern communities, and the reason is you’ve got communities that are in decline. You’ve got population declines, schools closing.

You’ve got a timber supply that’s in crisis, and they’re a decade behind in dealing with that crisis. They’ve been solely focused on LNG and they’ve excluded all the other economic opportunities in northern B.C. And that’s the problem with the B.C. Liberals up there.

We’ve got to get a new economic vision for the North, for the Interior, that’s going to see a diverse economy, secondary value-added manufacturing, that looks at how we’re going to sustain communities long term, and not just a one-off, one project that’s going to result in short-term employment for construction and then a couple of people in operations.

TF: Speaking of construction, the NDP has come out with their energy plan. They still seem to be running against the Site C dam on the Peace River, even though work is underway. What’s your take on Site C and the NDP’s energy plan?

DB: I think that ship has sailed, and Site C is a done deal, whether you agree with it or not. And I have some reservations about it. One thing they’re not making more of in B.C. is land, and the loss of that farmland is a pretty big blow.

I also think they have neglected to look at the natural gas power generation option, particularly in the North, but that’s what happened and it’s going ahead now. Reversing that decision now I think would be very foolish.

TF: Gas-fired generation is how Fort Nelson runs, and always has. You would consider more of that?

DB: I would consider more of that as our energy needs increase. When I think of Site C, the first thing that comes to mind is cost overruns, $8 billion, how soon is that going to be $16 billion? The B.C. Liberals do not have a track record of staying on budget.

TF: Energy Minister Bill Bennett has gone out on a limb, predicting that they’re going to keep this one on budget.

DB: [Laughs] We’ll see.

TF: What else would you like to see in B.C.?

DB: We need alternatives in B.C. politics. The B.C. Conservative Party is the best hope for British Columbia to make real, substantive change, economically, politically and I believe even socially.

These old recycled ideas from the NDP and the B.C. Liberals are going nowhere. The B.C. Liberals have really poisoned the well, so to speak, with this open government and triple deleting and all those scandals. They’ve overstayed their welcome. People are looking around for alternatives, and they don’t trust the NDP.

 

Just Posted

West Kootenay highways a mess as heavy snowfall continues

‘Roads are very icy, people have to be patient and have to slow down’

Nelson-area man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Snowfall warning across the West Kootenay

A strong Pacific frontal system had Environment Canada issuing a snowfall advisory early Tuesday

Over $25,000 raised for Columbia Basin literacy

Success for 2018 Books for Kids campaign

Castlegar water rates set to rise for commercial, industrial users; no change for single-family homes

Multi-family residences are also likely to see a price hike in 2019

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

Retired B.C. teacher a YouTube Sudoku sensation

A retired Kelowna teacher has amassed quite the following online by teaching the art of solving a Sudoku puzzle.

UN chief returns as climate talks teeter closer to collapse

Predictions from international climate expert, warn that global warming is set to do irreversible environmental damage.

Trump’s willingness to intervene in Meng detention roils Canada’s justification

The International Crisis Group said Tuesday, Dec. 11 it’s aware of reports that its North East Asia senior adviser Michael Kovrig has been detained.

Scientist awarded $100K for work on Arctic contaminants that led to ban

Derek Muir has received the $100,000 Weston Family Prize for his research that showed those carcinogens were able to move into the Arctic.

Manhunt continues for France shooter

Suspected gunman named, had long police record

‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Shining’ added to National Film Registry

“These cinematic treasures must be protected because they document our history, culture, hopes and dreams.”

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

Most Read