KAMLOOPS — About six weeks into the BC Liberal leadership race and Kamloops candidate Todd Stone says things "are going absolutely fantastic."
Originally a field of eight candidates, that number has been whittled down to six.
"We've done two debates and have met with folks in probably 40-plus communities across B.C. including the Interior and the North," he tells CFJC Today. "I'm getting a really good response from folks who are encouraged by our new generation of leadership focus and are really keen to talk about ideas."
So, what has he been hearing from party members during his travels?
"In the North and the Interior, the overwhelming theme that I'm hearing from folks is a growing sense of anger and frustration. That they don't believe there's a government in Victoria any longer that has their backs — that even knows where many of their communities are."
He says many members are concerned about what they perceive to be a lack of action in responding to last summer's devastating wildfire season.
"The premier and cabinet ministers have done some flyovers but haven't sat down and looked residents in the eyes and talked about what they communties need."
Stone says others are concerned about the future of the multi-billion dollar Site C project in Fort St. John.
"You look at 2,400 people who wonder if they're going to have food on their tables at Christmas. They're really, really worried the NDP might kill that project."
In the Lower Mainland he says concerns range from NDP inaction on their promised $10-a-day daycare plan to their promise of a $400 annual renters rebate.
"So many commitments the government hsan't followed through on and don't have a plan for."
As for where he feels he stands in comparison to the other candidates, he says he offers "a new generation of leadership."
"A style of leadership that's focused on getting out there and really listening to families and communities and small businesses. I put more tangible specific ideas on the table than any of the others running for the leadership."
Stone says those ideas include a detailed rural economic development plan, an education plan and a plan for seniors.
"You know, I think what people are looking for is a fresh perspective and some bold ideas. I'm the youngest guy in the race at 45 and the only person seeking the leadership from outside the Lower Mainland. Someone with three young kids in the school system, a tech CEO. I feel like I'm the most relatable whether I'm in Williams Lake, Kamloops, or Yaletown in Vancouver and that's what our party is going to need to win the next election."
The other leadership candidates are Dianne Watts, Andrew Wilkinson, Mike de Jong, Michael Lee and Sam Sullivan.
The winner will be announced Feburary 3, 2018.
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