Stone still has a shot despite some stormy weather

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
February 1, 2018 - 5:38am Updated: February 1, 2018 - 11:21am

KAMLOOPS — As BC Liberals begin voting on a new leader today, one of the big questions is whether the waves that have rocked Todd Stone’s boat this week will swamp his aspirations.

It hasn’t been a good week for Stone — first there was the ICBC “dumpster fire,” as Attorney General David Eby put it, surrounding the state of the auto insurer’s finances.

That one’s a question of how much responsibility is on Stone’s shoulders, since he was the transportation minister when things really started heading south with ICBC’s revenues.

Then came the membership brouhaha. Four of his opponents — Andrew Wilkinson, Michael Lee, Dianne Watts and Mike de Jong — are demanding the party explain details of rejected memberships gathered by Stone’s campaign.

“In the interest of transparency,” according to a letter to party brass.

The party says it will do no such thing, but does say all the candidates have had memberships rejected.

Seems a little odd that the four opponents carried out their threat to go public just before the vote. Surely they knew the party’s rules.

Could it be that Stone is seen as a genuine threat to win?

Who knows, but up till now, a lot of pundits have been predicting that Stone at least has a shot.

He’s got youth on his side, being in his mid-40s, and no shortage of experience.

That gives him a certain appeal and enables him to talk about the need for change within the party, a new style and all that.

As the leadership voting continues through Saturday, the ranked balloting and points-distribution system among ridings should help Stone overcome whatever disadvantages he might have faced due to the concentration of members at the Coast. If he can pick up enough second and third votes, and if the points system works for him, he’ll be a contender to come up the middle.

So despite the events this week, I’m still with the pundits who believe Stone has a shot.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.