Monday, November 03, 2008

BC Liberals outline the blueprint for the Spring election

The BC Liberals held their convention over the weekend in Whistler, a congregation of the converted, eager to apparently rev their engines and begin the run up to the May 12 provincial election.

In the conventions concluding address Premier Gordon Campbell provided props, scary imagery and one liners to give a glimpse as to the strategy that the Liberals will use as they seek another term as the government of British Columbia in May.

With the sound of a dump truck providing the emphasis, the Liberals outlined how they were going to highlight an NDP opposition that was looking to the past, backing up if you will from forward movement in the province.

It was, as far as political theatre goes a success, garnering chuckles from the NDP observers and roars of approval from the hungry Liberals, who revel in the prospect of bare knuckle politics once again taking centre stage on the political trail.

Campbell's speech was steeped in his perceptions of the NDP's obsession with turning the clock back, turning the province into a have not province and taking British Columbia away from the Liberals New Era policies.

Of course, its probably because of a good number of those policies that the need to go on the offensive against the NDP has become necessary. Despite some unsteady leadership at times by Carole James over the last few years, the NDP has managed to carve out its niche again on the BC Political spectrum.

Taking the lead in the axe the carbon tax program, a move that resonated across the rural areas of the province hardest hit by the Campbell initiative. Worries over education, health care and homelessness have all become key ingredients for the next election, mainly because the Liberals have fumbled those agendas, giving voters cause for concern over very visual issues in their own communities.

The weekend convention provided for many soundbites for Liberal cabinet ministers, all eager to join in on the framing of the NDP as a party that would take the province into some kind of dark ages of civilization.

From the always vocal Rich Coleman came his observations on the NDP"s social agenda: "They actually don't really care about people, they just talk that they care about people."

Kevin Falcon, BC's Transportation Minister decided that his target would be Carole James political resume, calling on the vision of Sarah Palin as the Liberal talking point: "People are questioning Sarah Palin's experience. She's got a lot more governing experience than Carole James."

Falcon added that the time for an in depth review of Ms. James' credentials was at hand:
"I'd like people to start asking the same questions about Carole James, What is her background? What is her record that allows her to operate a $40-billion economy?"

And on it went through the weekend convention, the foundation of a spring election that seems to be shifting towards another bare knuckle, pull no punches attack on the NDP, a tactic that usually comes into play when the incumbent government fears that trouble is afoot and that just outlining forward thinking policies won't suffice.

In fact, the best quote of the convention comes not from a Liberal, but from NDP observer Mike Farnsworth who quickly surmised the tone of the Liberal attacks and what it may suggest is the current train of thought in the Liberal party.

With all the attention that the Premier and his cabinet ministers are focusing on the NDP, for Farnsworth the indications are quite clear and quite positive for the NDP's hopes in May. Frinding some resonance in former Social Credit Premier WAC Bennett's political observation of the day that "You don't shoot at dead ducks."

Indeed, judging by the amount of shots taken by the Liberals over the weekend in Whistler, those political ducks of the NDP are becoming troublesome again and they're anything but dead it seems.

CTV News-- B.C. Liberals see real election threat from NDP
CTV News-- Premier promises four point homeowner help plan
Vancouver Sun-- Premier blasts NDP record in pre-election speech Liberals
Vancouver Sun-- Premier uses pre-election speech to rally Liberals
Vancouver Province-- Campbell rallies party by mocking NDP
Globe and Mail-- In an election campaign, perception is key

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