Wilkinson Scores Points … but Not Enough to Win the Election

John Horgan will emerge from the BC election as Premier again … but he should not yet sleep soundly.

In the one and only televised Leaders’ Debate before the Oct 24 vote, Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson got under Horgan’s skin a few times, including when he accused Horgan of stalling and “dragging out” release of BC’s emergency business relief program until three days before the election call, when other provinces introduced theirs in June and July.

“How can we trust you to look after our small businesses when you did this for purely self-serving reasons so that you can have an election and try to secure your employment for the next four years?”, Wilkinson jabbed.

“We talked to British Columbians, Andrew, which is what I think leaders are supposed to do. There’s a litany of examples where BC Liberals decided they knew best and we’ve been patching those holes ever since we were sworn in as government,’ Horgan punched back.

And the Liberal Leader also scored a hit when he noted the NDP had promised more “affordable housing” in the last election, but house, condo and rental prices went up.

“Your housing plan is a complete fiasco because the cost of housing is the highest it’s ever been, while incomes are actually going down.”

“You’ve got to get out of your neighborhood and talk to people, my friend. It’s working for lots and lots of people”, Horgan hit back, citing the case of a Maple ridge former homeless man now living in his own place

“You want to go back to let the speculators make lots of one bedroom condos in downtown and leave everyone else to fend for themselves,” the NDP Leader bristled.

Wilkinson also evoked a snap-back from Horgan when he described BC’s “Clean BC ” program as a “bit of a sham”.

“Greenhouse gasses have gone up regularly each year under the NDP: nothing has been accomplished …. Your Clean BC plan is a giant hot air balloon with not much in it!” the Liberal leader delivered.

Horgan defended Clean BC as “a continent-leading plan the Greens and the NDP worked on together”.

“Mr. Wilkinson’s plan about being an energy powerhouse involves making sure developer friends got power purchase agreements that drive up costs for Hydro users. That’s not a plan to create a clean economy; that’s a plan to create money for speculators and your wealthy friends.”

Green Leader Sonya Furstenau, with her airy, idyllic world scenarios, seemed almost irrelevant for most of the debate as the two main contenders slugged it out for power … BUT then she scored one of the best points just as the debate wound up.

“We’ve had for three and a half years an unprecedented level of co-operation in the BC Legislature: it serves people well. The best thing in this election is not to hand power to any single party, but to ensure that we have the kind of collaboration and co-operation that puts people and their needs first … and to achieve that, vote Green.”

And THAT would ruin Horgan and the NDP’s ultimate goal behind the early election call … achieving majority government and total power.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get FREE First Alerts of new topics on this Blog by following @harveyoberfeld.ca on Twitter.)

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15 Responses to Wilkinson Scores Points … but Not Enough to Win the Election

  1. Hawgwash says:

    I surprised myself by lasting through the entire debate.
    Even so, I really didn’t learn anything and saw no surprises.

    Sonia Furstenau while being pretty much irrelevant, held her own in a shaky kind of way, but showed she has convictions and potential. Just too naively idealistic for me though.

    Wilkinson scored a few but just does not resonate. He is out of touch and has no charisma. I laughed at his “13 years out of 30” jabs at Horgan in contrast to his parties recent decades of ruination. Disingenuous as hell.

    His attempts to get Horgan to lose it, mostly failed.

    Horgan was Horgan. Kept his cool for the most part, hit all the talking points and skated on a few answers.

    The moderator was the better performer on the night and gave lessons. Good job for someone I bet not one of you readers knew until now.

    My biggest takeaway was a snapshot of today’s society.
    I believe John Horgans remark ”I don’t see color” was taken out of context as a sound bite, by a savvy media and overly sensitive, politically correct crowd.

    I believe he was referring to his view of people not that he was blind to racial inequities and abuses. I think he meant, he grew up with and has spent his life surrounded by many ethnicities and believed them to all be equals.

    He should have seen the feigned shock coming and it is indicative of our society that all of us have to watch every word, for fear of offending someone. Pity he was forced to walk back so quickly, from four words which were heard differently than spoken.

    (Response: My old BCTV colleague, Shachi Kurl of the Angus Reid Institute, did a wonderful job as moderator: fair and firm when she had to be. And the leaders too deserve praise for their general civility, so viewers/listeners could actually hear and evaluate their remarks during the debate. True, not much new, but it did give each leader and chance to expose some weaknesses of their competitors stance, statements, failures. As for the “colour” quote, I understood what Horgan was TRYING to say …and frankly I don’t think it’s as big a deal as the political correctness police are trying to make it. h.o)

  2. G. Barry Stewart says:

    I loved it, when Wilkinson tried to get Furstenau to join him in ganging up on Horgan on the question of trustworthiness.

    Furstenau didn’t even sniff at the bait, but came back with a message of cooperation between parties for the good of British Columbians.

    Wilkinson must have been anticipating building a big wave to hit Horgan with… but it fell flat. I didn’t look, but I’m sure Horgan was grinning over that one. 🙂

    Congrats to all involved in the debate. What a huge difference to the Trump debacle.

    (Response: There was one section where Wilkinson was clearly courting Furstenau/Greens to possibly back him/Liberals instead of Horgan/NDP in case we have a repeat of the situation of the last election. He talked almost affectionately (LOL!) of how he and Furstenau worked together “in a very collegial way” over the Summer to ensure funding was in place to deal with the pandemic. Wilkinson added “we need to fight the virus and not each other” and then pointed out he and Furstenau had done that together. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Furstenau/Greens did get a few seats and used them to support a Liberal minority government! h.o)

  3. Steve Cooley says:

    I had to split my political fix between a local all candidates debate and the provincial leaders debate. I heard the first 25 minutes of the provincial debate. It was obvious the three leaders and the moderator were determined to not repeat the sandbox tantrum of Biden and Trump.
    Locally, both the NDP and the Liberal candidates read from their prescribed scripts several times, even when the script only obliquely answered the question. The Liberal script was the most peripheral. Both the Green and the Conservative had notes, but no script prepared from on high. This indicates to me that either of them would be inclined to represent their constituency ahead of their party. Both of them were prepared to say ‘I don’t know’ rather hose us down with bafflegab.

    Conclusion – Two candidates are already under the control of their party’s whip.

    (Response: Kudos to you for paying attention to a local debate as well. Too many people vote by leader or party promises … but actually in this election, I’m actually voting according to the local candidates: don’t recall even seeing/hearing from my incumbent in the riding for years … until the election was in the offing … and I actually am aware and impressed by the new opponent. h.o.)

  4. Richard Skelly says:

    Unless I zoned out, no direct question to the leaders about the fact roughly 700,000 British Columbians cannot find a family doctor.

    Liberal Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson mentioned student spaces were reduced in medical schools back in the 90’s by the NDP. He didn’t add that all provinces bought into the theory peddled at the time by Canadian academics that there was a glut of doctors. Eventually realizing their error, governments across Canada encouraged universities to restore medical-student levels.

    Wilkinson also critiqued past and present NDP governments for not building hospitals unlike Liberal administrations. But Wilkinson did not explain how, going forward, a Liberal government would do things differently than the NDP to get doctors for family practice and to fully staff current and future hospitals.

    Premier Horgan boasted about provincial urgent primary care centres being created. If not mistaken, the recently opened one in Langford was a refurbished previously privately run walk-in clinic. Now provincially owned, it’s having the same problem finding doctors and overcrowding as private clinics.

    If I heard Green Leader Furstenau correctly, her party favours more practical nurses for regular patients and psychiatric nurses for mentally disturbed homeless folks.

    (Response: Good point. You re correct: never was mentioned, either by the moderator, nor any of the Leaders. Nor was the growing problem I mentioned in a blog a few weeks ago .. that many of those with doctors, get phone “visits” and cannot see them in person anymore, except in an urgent situations. Still time for it to come up if someone in the working media raise it. h.o)

  5. Gilbert says:

    I wish leftists didn’t feel the need to state they’re standing on traditional native land. We need to come together as British Columbians and avoid social engineering which divides people into different categories. What would have been the reaction if Andrew Wilkinson had said “We are standing on former colonial British territory”? I want to ask leftists if they’re happy with the reserve system and if their words are just aimed at winning the indigenous vote.

    I thought it was interesting that John Horgan said October 26th instead of October 24th for the day of the election. He once called Mr. Wilkinson Minister Wilkinson and he criticized the Liberals for policies that were from many years ago. Imagine if Mr. Wilkinson had criticized the premier for the fast ferries or for the high corporate tax rate under Dave Barrett that sent many businesses to Alberta.

    When Mr. Wilkinson told voters that he’s had economic struggles, he made it clear that he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He said he once moved 17 times in 18 years and he came to BC as an immigrant. He also reminded voters of his medical expertise and said that many seniors want home care. Those were good points.

    I really liked when he said that blockades don’t work (the NDP won’t deal with them), that permanent tent cities are unacceptable (the premier avoided the question), and said that the premier likes to play the blame game. He asked if John Horgan can be trusted and reminded us that no hospitals have been built in 13 years.

    Let me now talk about the style of the Liberal and NDP leaders. Mr. Horgan spoke quite loudly and quickly. He seemed nervous and irritated with Mr. Wilkinson. On the other hand, Mr. Wilkinson seemed very calm, confident and was very concise in his answers.

    I won’t predict the result of the provincial election. Maybe the vote-buying of the NDP will succeed, but the electorate in BC has surprised us before. Time will tell.

    (Response: I think the pandering to First Nations every time politicians or bureaucrats speak by stating “We’re on the traditional unceded land of yada, yada, yada” is actually racist. If we truly believe in EQUALITY, then every British Columbian should be addressed and included EQUALLY. To single out any particular ethnic, religious or racial group … and citing their complaints/claims every time a politician/official doesn’t meet my EQUALITY test. It’s just political, patronizing and adds to divisiveness. h.o)

  6. frozentundra says:

    It was a civil debate, but all the talking points were Vancouver, Vancouver and yes Vancouver….except Furstenau who wanted to stop logging, LNG and Site C because it sounds good to urbanites who have no idea where these things are taking place except its in Canada
    . I was not impressed by Wilkinson at all, he looks and talks like the person who forecloses houses, no empathy whatsoever. Furstenau talks very well for a soccer mom pushed into politics but has no idea of what goes on outside Vancouver Island, which pretty much gives the election to Horgan, which is sad because he is losing so many of his main cabinet ministers (8 in total) which makes me think that he is much like Trudeau in that all of the decisions are made by a very small amount of people. That is scary to me.

    (Response: I think your impression of Wilkinson’s coldness ad lack of charisma is shared by many voters. Like it or not, we are now in a TV age, where the public assess your appearance, your warmth and your sincerity …or lack thereof … more than sitting down and reading a party’s platform policies. And although there was some mention of Covid, health coverage, resource development and Indigenous relations etc. the concentration on urban problems, because some of them are quite severe … and the number of seats possibly up for play there are greater than elsewhere. h.o)

  7. DBW says:

    OK, I got my ballot in the mail on Tuesday and mailed it a couple of hours later before the debate so didn’t feel guilty watching the Dodgers/Braves game instead of the Wilkinson/Horgan/Fursteneau game. I have nothing to add to the discussion.

    Except and it may be off topic but you reacted to it Harvey so here goes. Gilbert and I don’t share the same political opinions but I really liked his comments about the debate. If you are not afraid to get out of your bubble it is always worth reading a clearly articulated summary of what you may have viewed differently. The only thing that bothered me was his first sentence about LEFTISTS feeling the need to acknowledge that they are standing on traditional land of a particular people. You Harvey chose that comment of all that Gilbert wrote to say that it was racist for people to acknowledge traditional territory YADA YADA YADA.

    Sure. In my community we have been acknowledging this for years but I think it has become more common since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission published its report in 2015. I don’t regard this as a LEFTIST thing when all organizations whether left right or nothing do it. And I don’t think it should be dismissed as a YADA YADA YADA.

    Because GOOGLE exists here are a couple of articles worth reading.

    https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/canadas-impossible-acknowledgment
    https://locallove.ca/issues/what-are-land-acknowledgements-and-why-do-they-matter/#.X4hwD0XYrrc

    When people want to tear down statues (and I don’t favour that except in the rarest of cases) opponents always say we should not erase history, that we should add something to the story rather than destroy . An acknowledgement that we are on the traditional territory of a particular people is adding to the story.

  8. D. M. Johnston says:

    Not seeing the debate, I tend to throw things at the screen, I am relying on several factors for casting my vote.

    First off, the riding I am in will go Liberal and except when we a a conservative leaning independent, Viki Huntington, Delta South has always voted centre right.

    The last two Liberal MLA’s were a dead loss and the current chap is a one issue man who wants to replace the Massey tunnel with a mega 10 lane bridge.

    A bridge to where is a question he rather not answer but the plans to make Hwy. 99 an 8 lane parking lot chafes my more moderate Green instincts.

    What this does telegraph to me is that the Liberals want to replace the tunnel, not to improve traffic flow, but retain the option to allow Cape max colliers and tankers service Surrey docks, to load Montana Coal and Braken Oil, via the GNSF and natural gas via pipeline. (Hint: It is cheaper for the BNSF to deliver coal and oil to Surrey docks because they do not have to pay wheelage on the BC Rail line to the supper port!)

    No one talked about future taxes to pay for the current covid emergency as both the Libs and the NDP types are still crafting Covid help to their various base supporters.

    What I did not hear was:

    – Solid help for seniors.
    – Help for the 2020 grads, who have no school or work and are fast becoming known as the “Lost Year”.
    – Long term regional transportation planning, except for billions to build a few more km to SkyTrain or widening Hwy 1.
    – Help for the interior or the Island, while tens of billions of dollars are being spent in Metro Vancouver.
    – A coherent post Covid recovery plans.

    What we do hear is pandering for the various political bases who support each political party.

    It is tantamount to what I call a “fake” election, based on 30 second photo-ops, with no real issues being discussed. Money is treated like it is harvested from trees and the future welfare of the province is ignored.

    Response: Unless we’re in a long-term care home or hospital Seniors are the forgotten voters. Lots of promises and spending on families, kids, businesses etc. and the leaders/parties keep telling us how much they appreciate how WE built the province (and country) but when it comes to programs and promises directed at seniors (like lower taxes or prescription prices or coverage for dental care etc.) they do NOTHING for us. Maybe because they figure we are mostly set in our ways and can’t be persuaded to change our votes. h.o)

  9. harry lawson says:

    Harvey,

    i missed the tv debate ,only heard highlights or lowlights lol, dealing with family health issues. ,

    i was able to listen to the radio debate, while at mission hospital; ,thank god for earphones. many know i am a social conservative. i cannot vote for any party i was tempted not to vote. , so rather then think provincial,i had to thik who is best for mission , so today i am going to the advance polls and yes MR EAF i am voting for the NDP candidate in Mission. a breath of fresh air in mission , i have to ask how many other is not voting for Horgan but voting against Wilkinson as leader.

    (Response: Voting “against” a particular candidate or party is a tried and true Canadian political tradition. I’ve done it myself quite often. As I have mentioned before on the blog, when I was reporting politics, I did not vote: I felt that was too partisan …so stayed away from the polls, as do judges. But once I specifically stopped covering politics as part of my job, I started voting again. I think it’s important thing to vote for what you believe or against what you don’t like. It does send a message. h.o)

  10. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Interesting situation in Chilliwack, where incumbent BC Lib MLA Laurie Throness has been dethroned by leader Wilkinson, for saying the NDP’s free contraceptives are a way to control certain populations.

    Not that those populations would ever vote for the likes of Throness anyway… but he was speaking for his Pro-life supporters.

    It’s a developing story.

    Throness’s name is on the ballots and many have already voted by mail or in the advanced polls. His name is tainted now… which could open up a spot for the NDP’s Kelli Paddon, or 3-term Chilliwack City councillor (and Independent) Jason Lum.

    All-in-all, a blow to the BC Libs.

    Update: this article gives clarity on Throness’s status: any vote for him will be useless, as it was too late for him to switch to “Independent” status.

    https://www.theprogress.com/news/bc-liberal-mla-laurie-throness-resigns-from-campaigning/

    (Response: Since it’s too late for Elections BC to remove any candidate from a ballot, it will be interesting if Throness, listed as a Liberal, still wins the riding. Wilkinson says he won’t be allowed back in the party/caucus … BUT what if he could be the deciding seat in the election? Why I love politics! h.o)

  11. Horace B. says:

    I’ve been noticing that no one supports small and family businesses anymore. They were considered the backbone of our economy, not so long ago. The Greens and the NDP don’t seem to put their concerns in their platforms, obviously, but neither do the Cons and Libs.

    (Response: The NDP keep saying they support small business, but almost every program/announcement I’ve seen surrounds spending on private citizens … not to help businesses get through the pandemic. The Liberals promise tax reviews and reductions… but few real details. Clearly businesses, like seniors, are NOT a priority this election. h.o)

  12. G. Barry Stewart says:

    The Throness story in Chilliwack is still developing. Now, it seems that he COULD still technically win as an Independent…

    https://www.theprogress.com/news/breaking-throness-presses-on-as-an-independent/?fbclid=IwAR27mimXiN6nlX0ZoYRMggL9MDwZZRjZBbjQ10JVKe2gCoTJiOk0emYwxqU

    (Response: He will still be listed as a Liberal on the ballot … and could win the vote on that basis alone. And sometimes in politics, making a “martyr” of someone for a controversial position can attract votes as well as repulse them. h.o)

  13. Gilbert says:

    I agree with the comments of Laurie Throness. We have a negative birthrate. Why are we encouraging contraception? The NDP wants to win the female vote, but we should do what Hungary does and give financial support to families with children. I don’t like the contraceptive mentality. I’m a social conservative who never has and never will vote for the NDP.

    (Response: What really got Throness into trouble was the comparison of contraception to eugenic control…. Definitely a non-no these days! And encouraging a higher birth rate isn’t the same as allowing people who aren’t ready or don’t want to have kids to still e able to have sex without worrying about conception. h.o)

  14. nonconfidencevote says:

    Wilkinson could walk on his hands with boxing gloves on his feet and knock Horgan out in the first round……
    Unfortunately he also has the charisma of a turnip.
    A smart, intelligent, well spoken , honest…..dud .
    Its a shame the Liberals forgot their leaders actually have to convey emotion and empathy for the tv cameras
    He’ll resign on election night or face months of recriminations before being forced out.
    Worst leadership choice in decades.
    A walk in the park for Horgan.

    (Response: Never drop the balloons until the votes are counted. It sure does not look good for the Liberals … unless they come close and then the Greens win a few seats and decided to ally with them rather than Horgan, who clearly dissed them. h.o.)

  15. e.a.f. says:

    Didn’t watch the debate. Don’t watch debates anymore. I think its the COVID brain thing or just sanity survival techniques. However, Harvey thank you for the run down on what went down. Its easier to read about all of this.

    My sense is Ms. F. is a tad on the idealistic side, Agree with Hagwash, she has potential. Hope she is re elected and gains experience. People ought not to under estimate her.

    Don’t want to see Wilkinson in office. don’t trust what he has to say.

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