Home Election Tracker BC Provincial 2024 “British Columbians are mainstream not extreme,” says BC United Leader Kevin Falcon

“British Columbians are mainstream not extreme,” says BC United Leader Kevin Falcon

Falcon addressed lunchtime business crowd in Victoria June 6, 2024.

kevin falcon, bruce williams
BC United Leader Kevin Falcon answered questions from Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Williams, after addressing Chamber members at the podium, June 6 2024 at the Ocean Pointe Resort. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Thursday June 6, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated June 7, 2024]

Political news insights by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

“British Columbians are mainstream not extreme,” says BC United Leader Kevin Falcon.

He has coined that new phrase, it caught attention in the room at the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce luncheon event where he was the keynote speaker today.

kevin falcon, bc united, chamber
BC United Leader Kevin Falcon addressed Victoria Chamber members and guests on June 6, 2024. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Falcon delivered that same theme again later in the day in a national interview on CBC News Channel.

Covering economic issues:

Falcon said in a media scrum ahead of his 30-minute time at the podium that he would speak about economic issues which he described as “a combination of taxes, red tape, an uncertain policy environment, and conspiring to create a lack of confidence in the business community particularly when couple with total social disorder and chaos on the streets that has been brutal for a lot of small businesses”.

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He said he would address the child care announcement that he made this morning.

If elected, BC United would “eliminate fuel taxes on day one, this is really critical” and also “freeze the carbon tax”. And significant other initiatives that “are all about reducing the cost of living for British Columbians”.

Ho notes that BC has become the most unaffordable province in the country, and working people are moving to other provinces to find better economic conditions.

The local business crowd in the room at the Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria today heard Falcon’s concerns about housing construction shortfalls in the province as well as his critique about the doctor shortage.

He told media that child care and health care will be in the BC United platform, and that more policy directions will be coming out in the party’s election platform.

“We do have a plan to fix BC, and it’s going to be well thought out, it’s not bumper sticker politics. It’s going to be well thought-out policies that respond to all the different crises we’re facing in British Columbia. To govern you’ve got to have a plan and it’s got to be credible,” Falcon said today.

kevin falcon, chamber event
BC United Leader Kevin Falcon chatted with Chamber members ahead of his speech on June 6, 2024. [Island Social Trends]

Branding child care into his platform:

Falcon promoted child care as “an economically-driven initiative” not a social policy, which oddly enough is right out of the NDP playbook going back to when then-Premier John Horgan took office in 2017.

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Minister of State for Child Care Mitzi Dean says the BC United proposed child care plan is “not credible” [June 7, 2024]

Falcon said that BC United government would give direct subsidies to support child care and that “public-private partnerships are needed “to get the spaces we need”. Child care support “helps young women and men get back into the workforce — that’s really good for the economy, we just have to make sure that we have a government that knows how to deliver so that people can actually get the seats that they need,” he told media.

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Falcon made a BC United child care announcement earlier in the day, saying cash would be given directly to families. But Minister of State for Child Care Mitzi Dean says the BC United funding model for child care “is absolutely not credible”.

“If they get elected they’re going to reduce investments,” said Dean in an interview with Island Social Trends. “That means cuts in services. Look at Falcon’s track record. What did he do before? He cut child care services. He left child care to go to the market. What did that do for families? That shot up fees, and child care became unaffordable for so many families,” said Dean, speaking about the time when Falcon was with the BC Liberals who led government during 2001-2017.

Getting results:

Pitching to a generally supportive crowd of business leaders in the room, Falcon said that “a government needs to be held accountable for results”, which is ironic given the results that the BC United (formerly as BC Liberals) did not achieve in terms of building schools and hospitals and letting ICBC be used as a cash-cow and casinos for money-laundering.

“I care a lot about results,” Falcon told the room of about 150 people. “You and the public have to hold politicians more accountable,” said Falcon.

Naturally there were missives against the current BC NDP government, including “there is a chasm between government announcements and promises” and the results that are produced.

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Housing is unaffordable:

Falcon — a property developer as part of his career — described the BC NDP government’s housing strategy as their “signature platform” and that there has been “a blizzard of new taxes on housing”. He articulated that “BC has the most unaffordable housing in North America and the highest average rent in the country”, as British Columbians would inarguably agree.

“We’re getting terrible results on housing in British Columbia,” he pitched to the lunchtime crowd. He said that developers frequently find the documentation for housing programs too burdensome, adding “and now it’s too expensive to build”.

He would open doors to the private sector to build more housing, allowing “the private sector to do what they do best, which is build things”.

Doctor shortage:

The doctor shortage in BC currently sees about 20% of people without a family doctor. Falcon says part of the fix there is to ease up on licensing doctors who have been trained outside of Canada.

“When you’re in a crisis treat it like a crisis,” he said about health-care concerns in BC. Notably, Health Minister Adrian Dix has made it clear for the past seven years that the NDP government has been fixing the problems in the health-care system as left by the BC Liberals from their 16 years in government (2001-2017), including the construction of hospitals that Falcon evidently neglected when he was health minister in the BC Liberal government.

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Getting stuff done:

Falcon took pride in getting three major projects “far enough along” that the NDP government couldn’t cancel them or turn them around, those being Site C, twinning the Trans Mountain Pipeline, and the LNG facility being built at Kitimat. “I want to create an environment that is going to grow the economic pie,” said Falcon today in Victoria.

Public safety & addictions:

He covered public safety and how a BC United government would deal with mental health and addictions, including it’s “a duty of care that we owe” to people who are struggling with addiction that sends their lives into a downward spiral. He is dead set against legalizing illicit drugs.

Voters will pay attention come October:

When it comes time for the election in October, the BC United Leader is not worried about outcomes for his party. “People are smarter than we give them credit for, they’re just busy,” was his view on people perhaps not yet paying attention to the details of political rough and tumble with still a few months to go before the election.

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“There is a well-spring I’m feeling when I’m out there,” said Falcon about support for BC United when he’s out door-knocking in neighbourhoods.

When asked about the possible voter confusion over the party’s new name BC United (changed from the former BC Liberal) it sounds very much like his main deciding factor for the name change was to distance the party from any confusion with the federal Liberals whose “brand is very damaged”, said Falcon today.

bc leaders, ndp, bc united, green, conservative
Four BC party leaders heading into the 2024 provincial election (from left): David Eby (BC NDP), Kevin Falcon (BC United), John Rustad (Conservatives of BC), and Sonia Furstenau (BC Greens). [Composite by Island Social Trends]

“Trust the public. Let the public understand as we get close to the election, they’re going to see that John Rustad is very extreme,” including on climate change. “I’m confident about that.”

What he calls “homophobic and candidates who say racist things” among the Conservatives of BC “in a whole range of policy areas are not going to attract mainstream British Columbians.” said Falcon. “We will be that mainstream. We will be the adults in the room.”

At last count, the BC United have 54 candidates while the Conservatives of BC have 63. The BC Greens have 17. The BC NDP are expected to have a full slate of 93 candidates across the province for the October 19, 2024 election.

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY news section within Island Social Trends.

Polls are unreliable:

“By the time the public pays attention, we’re going to surprise everyone, just like we did in 2013,” Falcon said quite confidently. He says his skepticism about polls is longstanding. In 2013 the polls showed the NDP winning but the BC Liberals got re-elected with a vengeance. It may have been that pollsters got it wrong in 2013, but only because it has been speculated by political analysts over the years that many people intentionally gave misleading answers when participating in polls.

“Election campaigns matter. Don’t worry about the polls,” is what Falcon says he tells fellow party members. “Wait until the election starts. That’s when the public pays attention,” he said in response to a scrum question from Island Social Trends today.

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National interview:

Further, on CBC‘s Power and Politics today, Falcon said on the name change: “I don’t regret dropping Liberal. The BC Liberal was not connected to the federal party. We were always a coalation party. The Liberal brand today would not be helpful, given on what’s going on (federally). Yes it (his party name change) hurts us in the short term. But when the election comes around (people will be supportive),” said Falcon.

“I feel very confident that we’ll get the result that were looking for,” Falcon said to a national TV audience today.

Other leaders addressing the Victoria Chamber:

Last month Premier David Eby addressed the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce crowd over breakfast.

Next week Conservatives of BC Leader will address Chamber members at a lunch on June 19, as told to the assembled lunch crowd twice today by Chamber CEO Bruce Williams.

BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau will also be invited to address the Chamber crowd at some point.

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===== RELATED:

BC United name change could be its failing (May 21, 2024)

BC Election candidate tally, no United-Conservative merger (May 16, 2024)