Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon discusses his priorities for the province with Jim Eaton and Mike Waberski at the Schubert Centre Tuesday.

Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon discusses his priorities for the province with Jim Eaton and Mike Waberski at the Schubert Centre Tuesday.

Falcon makes pitch for support

Campaigning in his competitor’s backyard Tuesday, Kevin Falcon hopes his Vernon visit will get him a few more votes.

“Ultimately I’m hopeful they’ll select me as their first choice,” said Falcon, after speaking to a crowd of approximately 30 at the Schubert Centre.

Vernon was among Falcon’s campaign stops as the Liberal leadership hopeful works for support prior to Saturday’s vote.

“You’re the people who are going to decide who, among four candidates, is the best candidate to take us forward,” said Falcon, a husband, father and MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale.

The vote, open only to Liberal party members, will determine who B.C.’s premier will be to replace Gordon Campbell: George Abbott, Christy Clark, Mike de Jong or Falcon.

Party members cast their vote between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, picking a first and second choice.

“I was undecided but I came up to the point now that Kevin is No.1,” said Vernon’s Mike Waberski, who has Abbott as his No. 2 pick.

Meanwhile, former Okanagan-Vernon MLA Tom Christensen is leaning towards Shuswap MLA Abbott as his first choice and Falcon for second.

“I know all four and it’s actually a tough choice,” said Christensen.

Ben Stewart, Westside Kelowna MLA has thrown his support behind 47-year-old Falcon. 

“I believe that Kevin is the right leader.”

While Falcon and Abbott share many of the same supporters – the two have pretty much divided up the caucus – Falcon says it comes down to who can best lead the party forward.

With so much controversy over the HST, one thing that makes Falcon a little more attractive to voters is his proposal to chop the HST down from 12 per cent to 10.

“Certainly, a lot of people have been attracted to that commitment,” said Falcon, who wants to see the tax dropped one per cent initially, and then over time and as the budget allows, down another per cent. 

Other than the HST drop and a few others, Falcon admits he hasn’t made many campaign promises because he won’t commit to something the province can’t afford.

“There’s some pretty expensive commitments being made out there,” said Falcon, adding that you will not find a commitment he has ever made that didn’t come to fruition.

Having served as minister of transportation, health and state for deregulation, Falcon listed his accomplishments.

But he also shared his thoughts on other controversial subjects brought up by the crowd, such as the sale of B.C. Rail.

“I think absolutely it was the right decision,” said Falcon, as the company was virtually bankrupt and CN Rail was able to invest hundreds of millions into the railway which Falcon says will benefit exports and imports from Asia through Prince Rupert down to the States.

“There’s some things governments do well and something government doesn’t do well, running railways and ferry systems is generally something government doesn’t do well.”