Canada

Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon sets sights on 2024 in party convention address

PENTICTON, B.C. – Newly minted British Columbia Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon is already looking ahead to the next election, promising to address issues he says John Horgan’s NDP government has failed to tackle.

His remarks came during Sunday’s keynote address at the 2022 BC Liberal Party convention in Penticton.

The party says about 800 delegates gathered to plan strategy ahead of the next provincial vote, currently slated for fall 2024.

Falcon, who won the party’s leadership race earlier this year, renewed his promise to rebuild the party in consultation with members, starting with a potential name change.

He criticized the NDP government’s stance on a provincial doctors shortage, the overdose crisis, affordable housing, education funding and its plans to embark on a $789-million museum rebuilding project.

He says the next election will be won by the party that “offers real, meaningful, concrete solutions to these problems.”

“What really matters is outcomes. Competence matters, leadership matters, and that’s all missing under the NDP,” he said. “British Columbians are going to get that opportunity to fire John Horgan and the NDP in about two years.”

NDP Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore said in a news release following the speech that Falcon was “doubling down on old approaches.”

“Kevin Falcon is still working for the wealthy and well-connected and leaving everyone else behind,” she said.

This comes a day after party members voted to begin the process to possibly change the name of the party, though no proposed names have yet been announced.

The Liberal party said in a release Saturday that a name change committee will conduct consultations with all members, who will have the chance to vote on a new proposed name or to keep the current one by the end of the year.

“Maybe a name change can be part of that renewal process,” Falcon said Sunday. “It’s way more than changing a name. It means attracting the absolute best people to run with us.”

The NDP claimed that “several delegates” spoke against the name change and emphasized the need for “policy changes instead of rebranding.”

The B.C. Liberals are not affiliated with the federal Liberal party and have described themselves as a “made-in-B.C. free enterprise coalition.”

— By Brieanna Charlebois in Vancouver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2022.

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