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

Suspect in custody after Castlegar break and enters

RCMP reminding residents to look their doors.

Passenger counts still rising at West Kootenay Regional Airport

Reliability rates also on rise in second quarter.

Buddhist monument to be dedicated in Slocan cemetery

A new post has been created to mark the site where at least nine Japanese Canadians were cremated

PLACE NAMES: Grand Forks neighbourhoods, Part 2

No nuts were grown in Almond Gardens

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Most Read