Top of Mind - January 24, 2011

What can we learn from provincial Liberal leadership candidates George Abbott and Kevin Falcon's list of MLA endorsements?

There appears to be an significant divide between Messrs. Abbot and Falcon's endorsements. Mr. Falcon - whose campaign has attracted high-profile support from business community leaders - appears to have the backing of more major cabinet portfolio holders. By comparison, Mr. Abbott's list of supporters features most of the MLAs whose political careers have been interrupted by scandal - including Kash Heed, Gordon Hogg, Jane Thornthwaite and John Van Dongen. The only exception is John Les, who has sided with Mr. Falcon. But it remains to be seen whether this apparent divide will compromise Mr. Abbott's leadership bid.

Why is Mr. Falcon attracting the support of cabinet ministers and business leaders?

In part, it's because of a shared ideology. But could it also be because of fear? Mr. Abbott and Ms. Clark are the candidates most likely to disrupt the governing party's existing power structure - being the champions of the disgruntled and federal Liberals respectively. By comparison, Mr. Falcon is the candidate most likely to maintain that structure. As such, he's appears to have emerged or, at the very least, is positioning himself as the champion of the establishment.

What's the status of provincial New Democrat leadership candidate Mike Farnworth's bid to succeed Carole James?

Earlier, we noted one of the knocks against Mr. Farnworth is the perception he's overly cautious. That perception was reinforced last week when he decided not to press his complaint about incomplete membership forms submitted by Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore and individuals allegedly supporting leadership candidate Adrian Dix. But, in a revealing exchange on Public Eye Radio over the weekend, Mr. Farnworth revealed himself to be more than just a proponent of non-controversial policy proposals. He talked about his passion for environmental and historical preservationism - with that being his motivating reason for being in politics. So look for Mr. Farnworth's campaign to capitalize on that commitment to demonstrate the Port Coquitlam MLA personally stands for something.


Farnworth would be Carole James the 2nd,GUTLESS.

Kevin Falcon as "champion of the establishment" is my perception as well. He and his supporter Rich Coleman have reduced Ministries like Forestry, Housing and Transportation to servants of the real estate development industry with little or no regard for the public interest. If Falcon becomes the new leader he would be an easy target for those who want real change in the BC government.

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