Falcon, Abbott pick up key support

Shuswap MLA George Abbott celebrates with leadership rival Moira Stilwell

VICTORIA – The race to replace Premier Gordon Campbell entered the home stretch Wednesday, as long-shot candidate Moira Stilwell withdrew and endorsed George Abbott for the B.C. Liberal leadership.

At the same time, rival candidate Kevin Falcon picked up two previously uncommitted cabinet ministers, Science and Universities Minister Ida Chong and Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid.

Falcon and Abbott have attracted the support of most of the current B.C. Liberal MLAs between them. Stilwell is the 19th MLA to endorse Abbott, and Chong and MacDiarmid bring Falcon’s caucus support to 18 MLAs.

Chong said she waited until after the failed effort to recall her as MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head before making her decision.

Falcon “is the candidate best able to continue to build on the strong coalition we have across British Columbia, and that’s really important for 2013,” Chong said, referring to the scheduled date of the next B.C. election.

MacDiarmid, a family doctor before being entering politics in 2009, said she was impressed with Falcon’s decision as health minister to introduce patient-focused funding for hospitals.

Stilwell, another doctor recruited by Campbell to run for a seat in Vancouver, said she knew when she entered the leadership race that she didn’t have the profile to win. She is supporting Abbott because she believes he can reform the health care system, but “most importantly” because he has a collaborative leadership style the B.C. Liberal Party needs.

“I believe that [Abbott] has the best chance of holding the party united and defeating the NDP in 2013,” Stilwell said.

The B.C. Liberal Party has set Feb. 26 as the date of a province-wide vote of members. The leadership candidates signed up about 50,000 new members between them, bringing the membership to nearly 90,000, party officials say.

The vote will be conducted by phone and computer link, with each of the 85 constituencies having the same influence on the result regardless of the number of voting members.

Falcon, Abbott, Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong, former deputy premier Christy Clark, and former Parksville mayor Ed Mayne remain in the contest.

Just Posted

Trail cannabis shop gets green light from province

The Higher Path hopes to open doors in next couple of weeks

Man spotted with shotgun in East Trail leads to weapons discovery

RCMP recover numerous weapons and stolen items after search on Fifth Ave.

Butterflies for Rossland brother and sister duo heading to world ski championships

Remi and Jasmine Drolet will represent Canada in Finland

Fans egg-static Humpty statue staying in Castlegar

Local business donation ensures well-loved statue will remain in place

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Most Read