KAMLOOPS — The BC Liberals have picked a Kamloops boy as their new leader, but not the one many were expecting.
Andrew Wilkinson once attended John Peterson secondary school before he moved onto other places, but he’s a Lower Mainlander now. And about as status quo as you can get within the BC Liberals.
So now what? He heads up an opposition party divided by a fractious leadership campaign, struggling with an identity crisis, and challenged by issues like the ICBC “dumpster fire.”
Meanwhile, we have an NDP government feuding bitterly with another NDP government just across the border in Alberta, and a Green Party rump that seems more focused on fighting with its NDP partners than with the Liberals.
In short, politics in B.C. is a mess. There was another time when it was like this. Back in 1952, a Liberal-Conservative coalition was falling apart and the ‘socialist hordes’ — the CCF — were at the gates.
But along came Social Credit, led by a maverick Conservative by the name of W.A.C. Bennett who offered a fresh start.
Wilkinson, on the other hand, says B.C. needs to get back to the values of Christy Clark and Gordon Campbell — I think not.
Isn’t it about time to give up on the status quo, time to challenge the Coast as the province’s power hub?
Time once again, in other words, for the rise of a whole new political movement in B.C., but one centred right here in the B.C. Interior, one that puts the Interior first?
I mean a genuine grass roots moderate movement with no baggage, one with a practical and achievable vision that can reflect the true aspirations of those of us beyond Hope.
Time for someone with youth, courage and charisma, new enough to be unfettered by the past, who can inspire. Someone schooled in governance but outside the political establishment, who can lead a dozen or so new MLAs to Victoria and stand up for the heartland.
Who? I don’t know. Crazy idea? Maybe — unless we want more of what we’ve been getting.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.