Abbott still opposed to an early election call

 

Liberal leadership hopeful George Abbott is again discouraging the notion, promoted by rival Christy Clark, of an early election call once the party chooses a new leader at the end of February.

 "I would still not move the election date," Abbott told reporters during a scrum in the provincial capital Thursday.

 "I think it is entirely appropriate that the people of B.C. have two and a half years to judge our government, that they have two and a half years not only to hear our words about how we will approach government differently than in the past, but also to see the performance of our government over two and a half years."

 He also warned of a backlash, should voters see an early election call as being too clever by half.

 "If we were to go to an early election, particularly if it was seen that we were attempting to capitalize on the current challenges of the NDP, I think the province would rightly just us as attempting to take advantage for our own interests of an unfortunate situation besetting the Opposition."

 Abbott says the public interest is best served by letting the rivalry between the two parties play out over time, so that the public has the opportunity to make "an informed judgment" at the time of the scheduled vote in May 2013.

 "At this point," he went on to say, "the greatest barrier to the re-election of a B.C. Liberal government has been the performance of our B.C. Liberal government over the last year and a half."

 The Liberals need to "demonstrate a fundamentally different style than we have pursued in the last year and a half." Meaning reconnect with the public and include its voices in the shaping of public policy, said Abbott.

 "If we succeed in doing that we stand at least a reasonable chance of being reelected in 2013 but it is not going to be easy. This is the fourth mandate for government and that is almost unprecedented in contemporary provincial politics."

 As for the New Democrats, he welcomed Dawn Black to the provincial political fray  after she was named leader of the New Democratic Party to serve until  party members complete a leadership election April 17

 But he couldn't resist a swipe at the NDP controversy over memberships — where leadership candidate Harry Lali is accusing the campaign of rival Adrian Dix of descending on party headquarters with boxes of memberships and bags of cash.

 "Personally I'm quite torn between my emotional attachment to Harry Lali and the huge respect that I have for the documentary precision of Adrian Dix."

 Ouch. A reference there to the famously dishonest memo to file that Dix drafted during the 1990s controversy over a casino licence.

 "I can't tell you how envious I feel at this point that someone like Mr. Dix is able to deliver both bags of memberships and bags of cash on demand," continued Abbott, quoting Lali's description of what happened.

 "For me going out having meetings around the province, I was feeling triumphant when I came away with three or four or five new memberships. But to have bags full, I could just dream of a scenario like that."

 Dreaming for him, perhaps. But he might want to check up on some of his own leadership rivals. I gather there have been some substantial bulk signings among Liberals as well.

 

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