Liberal Leadership Hopeful Makes a P.G. Stop
Former Minister of Finance, Mike de Jong makes a stop in Prince George – photo 250News
Prince George, B.C. – Former Minister of Finance , and now candidate for the leadership of the BC Liberals, Mike de Jong is the first of the declared candidates to make a visit to Prince George.
de Jong threw his hat into the ring yesterday, and last evening was meeting with local Liberal supporters at an event hosted by Northern Lights Estate Winery.
de Jong says his reason for seeking the leadership is simple “experience, passion, and a belief I can pull together and re-energize the free enterprise coalition.”
This is not his first run for leadership. He was in the race in 2011, and lost to Christy Clark.
de Jong says the party needs to re-earn the trust of British Columbians ” We were a good government, we weren’t a perfect government, but we were a good government. I think we can re-earn and re-acquire the right to govern, but we are going to need the right captain of the team to do it.”
de Jong says the first thing the Liberals must do is remain true to their core values ” We are a free enterprise party, we believe it is the private sector that drives the economy not government. Government can be there to support people who get into difficulty, but the private sector is what drives the economy, and we believe, and I believe, the government must manage the taxpayers money responsibly, not spend more than we receive. These are things that we have demonstrated, and I have demonstrated an ability to do, but at the same time, I think people asked themselves, in some parts of British Columbia, did we do enough to deploy the benefits of that?
Never one to miss the opportunity to use a hockey analogy, de Jong says the new Leader of the party must be strong enough to hold the NDP accountable “Our new captain has to be able to go into the corners with John Horgan and the NDP when the puck drops and be able to go toe to toe and hold them to account for what I think are already some bad decisions.”
The past election showed a definite gap between urban and rural B.C. and de Jong says there is a lesson to be learned from that “We had best be mindful, in my view, of where a lot of the wealth in British Columbia is generated, what the needs of those communities are. I don’t believe by the way that the way to bridge that gap is to make decisions about foisting the cost of a new bridge in the lower mainland which was serving the needs of people thee, foisting the cost of that on the people of Prince George, or Fort, St John or other parts of Northern British Columbia.”
Michael Lee also declared his candidacy for the leadership yesterday, and while he did visit Prince George a little over a week ago, was not an officially declared candidate at the time.
There are now six declared candidates, Mike de Jong, Michael Lee, Dianne Watts, Sam Sullivan , Mike Bernier and Andrew Wilkinson. There remains speculation that Todd Stone, and Terrace businesswoman Lucy Sager will also jump into the race.
The B.C. Liberals will choose their leader through online voting on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of February, with the winner to be announced at a leadership convention on February 3rd.