Dan Brooks believes the future of the B.C. Conservative Party lies beyond Vancouver.
The leadership candidate has promised to move party headquarters to Kamloops if he is selected for the job April 11.
“The strength of the party lies in the Interior, the north and rural B.C.,” he said as part of a visit to Enderby Sunday and Vernon Monday.
“Vancouver is very hard slogging for Conservatives. If we are going to be successful, we can’t ignore where our strengths are.”
And Brooks sees opportunities for the party in the Shuswap and Vernon-Monashee constituencies.
“Some of our best candidates (in the last election) came out of here,” he said.
“Within the party board, four come from the North Okanagan and the Okanagan makes up 27 per cent of our party membership.”
Brooks is currently living in Kamloops but he operates a hunting and fishing lodge in Vanderhoof.
“I’m filling a power vacuum. There needs to be a rural leader and I’m filling that need,” he said.
The other leadership hopeful is Rick Peterson of Vancouver.
Brooks has been touring the province and he says many members are demoralized after the party didn’t elect one MLA in May. However, he insists there is also a sense of optimism.
“We have a huge future ahead of us. There has been a massive influx into the membership,” he said.
The goal is to have the party processes in place to fight the 2017 election campaign.
“Every British Columbian deserves to vote Conservative. The conservative ideology is the best thing for the province. It will create a stronger province,” said Brooks of the party’s focus on fiscal prudence and the economy.
In terms of the economy, Brooks says the bureaucracy must evolve to ensure mining and forestry projects can proceed.
“We have to streamline the regulatory framework and settle land claims. As long as you’re not planning what you do on the land, you can’t help resource development,” he said.