Liberal leadership candidate plans remain a mystery

Three weeks from now, BC Liberal Party members will elect their next leader and our next premier. But, so far, the three lead contenders for that job have said little about their plans for the government's biggest spending ministries. Those ministries - which are responsible for health services, education, housing, social development, advanced education, labour market development and children and family development - had expenses totaing $25.21 billion in the past fiscal year. But, according to a review of their platforms, George Abbott, Christy Clark and Kevin Falcon have spent most of the leadership campaign talking about economic and accountability issues.

That's not to say there hasn't been some specific promises concerning the day-to-day government services we rely on.

Mr. Falcon has, for example, spoken of the need to reward "exceptional and innovative" teachers, as well as ensure "parents of autistic children are supported in choosing the best style of intervention for their kids."

Mr. Abbott, meanwhile, has committed to a "public engagement initiative on the issue of child poverty" that will lead to a "comprehensive child poverty reduction plan."

And Ms. Clark wants to cover the cost of nicotine replacement therapies.

But those examples are the exceptions rather than the rule, with the candidates seeming to prefer to talk in generalities about those issues.

Indeed, in an interview with Public Eye, University of Victoria political science professor emeritus Norman Ruff said, "There are no concrete policy action plans there. There's a token acknowledgement of their importance but nothing to back it up. And when they do but forward a concrete proposal its gimmickry."

And that "amazing lack of substance," according to political pundit Bill Tieleman, is somewhat surprising given that most of the leadership race contestants "are directly involved in or have been directly involved in the highest levels of government."

Which means British Columbians could be in for an even bigger surprise after the Liberals hold their leadership vote on February 26.

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HEALTH SERVICES*
$13,923,823,000 (actual expenses in fiscal 2009/10)

George Abbott

provide a health and wellness tax credit for families who pay for their children to participate in extracurricular activities

provide a tax credit for individuals who acts as the primary caregivers for spouses, relatives and friends

accelerate the review of the residential care rates structure

establish a minister of state who will act as a key advocate for seniors' issues to cabinet

lobby the federal government to examine the creation of a registered medical savings program

provide funding to support services and research targeting neurological disorders, brian injuries and dementia

improve quality end-of-life services and pursue more equitable support for hospice care options across the province

Christy Clark

increase health care funding and better manage health care cost

cover the cost of nicotine replacement therapies with the proceeds from tobacco taxes

Kevin Falcon

innovate and ensure "every dollar we put into health care maximizes the benefits and measures the outcomes of that system"

support families in making "good, healthy choices" so they stay out of hospital

EDUCATION*
$5,069,692,000 (actual expenses in fiscal 2009/10)

George Abbott

introduce a $12-million grant program over the next three years to support the construction of new or replacement school playgrounds

Christy Clark

give more power to parents and ensure they have "as many as options as possible" to support their children's development

Kevin Falcon

ensure "no child is denied a proper education because of a learning difficulty" and that parents are "supported in choosing the best style of intervention" for autistic kids

ensure children can learn Chinese and Indian languages in the province's schools

recognize and reward "exceptional and innovative" teachers and encourage them to "share their expertise and methods with their peers"

talk about how schools could "provide safe and family-friendly locations for before and after school daycare"

HOUSING AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT*
$2,735,104,000 (actual expenses in fiscal 2009/10)

no campaign platform proposals from any leadership candidate at publication time

ADVANCED EDUCATION AND LABOUR MARKET DEVELOPMENT
*$2,109,036,000 (actual expenses in fiscal 2009/10)

George Abbott

use universities to attract more international skilled talent in the technology field

launch initiatives to attract more post-secondary international students

partner with educational institutions to match skills development with resource jobs

work with public colleges and universities to provide lower-cost opportunities for seniors to participate in academic programs

Kevin Falcon

expand education options in the north to include engineering and address "shortages in certain medical support positions"

Christy Clark

no campaign platform proposals at publication time

CHILDREN AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT*
$1,375,806,000 (actual expenses in fiscal 2009/10)

George Abbott

launch a public engagement initiative on child poverty as a first step towards developing a comprehensive child poverty reduction plan

Christy Clark

no campaign platform policies proposed at publication time

Kevin Falcon

no campaign platform policies proposed at publication time

* = On October 25, Premier Gordon Campbell announced changes that restructured many of these ministries.

11 Comments

At this point all I care about is that parties sign up only canadian citizes and these new members have proof of Canadian Citizenship with them!

Whoever is Premier must remove Rich Coleman from Caucas to the back bench, many at the Vancouver City Council meeting are lived at this man for his pure incompetance as shown on the BCLC file and Gaming Policy and Enforcement branch being under one Ministry and GPRB distributing casinos profits, this is not their function and are requesting the Auditor General to do a full and detailed investigation with the power to lay criminal charges against BCLC and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch. People do not understand why BCLC is getting fined and not paying the fines, they seem to think they are British Columbia when they are clearly not!

Have you noticed "See How I Run" the above listed names run away from the real issues british columbians want to talk about this shows me they have no guts to be the Premier of BC. When I was 12 years old I used to get a ride home from school with WAC Bennett in his limo on his way to Kelowna now that was a Premeir with guts. Sometime later I find out my parents were friends of the Bennett's via Gyro Club,because of this man I became a socred voter.

Say nothing, promise nothing, then after you get the job you can do what you like.

There has been a name change in the last few hours, Christy Clark is now called Christy Flipty Flop Clark, that is all BC needs right now, is a Premier that Flip Flops

Flipty Flop Flipty Flop Flipty Flop Flipty Flop Flipty Flop that is what her campaign proposals are and platform Flipty Flop.

"flip flop" is just name calling. Why don't we get any critical analysis? Surely, all these people aren't the same kind of liberal. Every ideology has a spectrum - more or less cooperative; more or less entrepreneurial.

Lawson1945, Christy is just following orders. And you thought Falcon was the business sector's mouthpiece.

I will let the BCNDP blow smoke and smoke blow. We BCLibs will fight on.

But having said that I like to hear the opinions of other people whether are for or against me. We have to get debt going better on this website it is a little slow for attracting to make comments, other words I love to stir the pot to get people thinking of what is going on in this Province, there is a reason we have no Socred Party in BC, it took 12 men to build it and ONE Woman to destroy it, this may happen to the Liberals if the leader is not good this time no matter how many people they sign up, if this group gets dissatified look out.

@Liz Thor - Larsen it is not just name calling, it shows what she would probably do as Premier eg. if you know like Flip Flop how about changing her mind every 20 seconds, this maybe a womans right but not as a Premier. We are trying to elect a Premeir are we not or did I miss something.

With respect, the only person who ever blows smoke here is Josef. I mean is that all he can say on the issue?

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