Yesterday, Premier Gordon Campbell met with Lieutenant Governor Steve Point to issue the writs ordering a provincial election. Following that meeting, the provincial Liberal leader spoke with reporters in the basement of Government House, to discuss his campaign agenda and take questions from the media. The following is a recording of that speech and highlights from the scrum.
* Last year, Mr. Campbell told The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer that, even though the New Democrats have personally attacked him, his "strategy is actually not to do that. I think that Carole James and the NDP are all probably trying to do what's best for the province." He repeated that message during a recent interview with BCBusiness Magazine publisher Peter Legge stating, "Canadians are sick of personalized attacks and partisan politics."
So it wasn't a surprised when Mr. Campbell put that line in his message box yesterday, saying, "I believe people expect all parties to run a positive campaign that's focused on ideas and solutions - not on personal attacks." But Mr. Campbell's caucus colleagues have launched personal attacks of their own against the New Democrats, with Kevin Falcon comparing Ms. James to former American vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin at the Liberals' most recent biennial convention. So what does the premier think about that behaviour? We asked but didn't get an answer.
* Mr. Palmer pressed Mr. Campbell about whether former provincial Liberal campaign co-chair Patrick Kinsella would have been welcome to join the party's campaign team. Mr. Campbell's response: "I think our campaign team is set. We're ready to go. I can tell you this, I welcome everyone in British Columbia who supports our party. I think it's important for people to know that they're all invited to be part of the public process. But Mr. Kinsella is not part of the campaign team."
* In an earlier interview, New Democrat leader Carole James declined to commit to a debate with her Liberal opponent Dallas Henault. And Mr. Campbell was even more blunt when asked if he'd debate his New Democrat challenger Mel Lehan, telling reporters, "I probably will not have the opportunity to be in Point Grey explicitly for a debate."
The following is a recording of the scrum.