B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a campaign stop in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. A provincial election will be held on October 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

As B.C.’s opposition scrambles to get together a campaign what will span only just over a month, a University of B.C. professor says the Liberals may have a hard time differentiating themselves in the short few weeks before the election.

Two political science professors at the University of B.C., said the focus on COVID-19 could make for a challenging campaign for BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, who came hot out of the gate saying that NDP Leader John Horgan chose “politics over people” just hours after the writ dropped Monday (Sept. 21) morning for the Oct. 24 election.

“We do not need the cynical, self-serving, selfish move by the NDP to trigger an election right now,” Wilkinson said.

But Gerald Baier, an associate professor at UBC, said that strategy won’t work for long.

“At some point they have to change gears, too. They have to say ‘this is an unnecessary election but you have to vote us in, not the other guys.’”

During his press conference, Wilkinson laid what voters can expect to see from the Liberals: ” A plan to deal with the need for more employment, a plan to bring jobs to British Columbia, a plan to build the economy and bring investment.”

READ MORE: In snap election, Horgan must prove COVID-19 track record to cynical voters

Richard Johnston, a professor emeritus at UBC, agreed the Liberals won’t win points for long by focusing on how unnecessary the snap election may be. Instead, they’ll have to focus on the issues, which may largely involve poking holes in the NDP’s COVID response plan.

“It’ll be interesting to see if the Liberals have anything to say about the plight of the restaurant business. Will they be responsive to the demands for moving the liquor availability back to midnight?

Johnston said. “On the other hand, if they do that they may just get hammered as being irresponsible.”

Johnston said the argument about how tackle COVID is more about “the means than the ends,” making it harder to spell out how they differ from the NDP than in pre-pandemic times.

It’s unclear how much focusing on the economy will help Wilkinson at a time when signs of a second wave appear to be on the horizon.

“There’s a high tolerance for debt right now because interest rates are low and we know we need to do something,” Baier said. “This could be this ideal time for this kind of ideological argument that the NDP makes.”

Wilkinson, who Johnston dubbed “the missing man in B.C. politics” in recent months, did wade into social issues in his speech Monday, saying Liberals will have a plan to deal with the “nightmare of drug addiction that’s dominating our streets these…. a plan to make it easier for moms and dads to work when they have kids and a plan to build and secure housing all over British Columbia.”

None of the parties have released platforms so far.

READ MORE: B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Carmen Hintz poses with the four kittens she rescued. Paul Rodgers photo.
WATCH: Kimberley local rescues four kittens, starts fund to help others

Kimberley local Carmen Hintz has found her house to be a little… Continue reading

The house is located near two schools. Photo: Connor Trembley
Dog attack seriously injures young boy in Castlegar

Despite investigating the incident, city staff aren’t confirming if the dog has been put down

Nicole Cherlet, NDP, Samson Boyer, Green, Doug Clovechok, BC Liberal.
B.C. VOTES: Columbia River Revelstoke candidates debate one last time

Candidates discuss issues like affordable housing, healthcare, pandemic recovery

Above is a planning map that shows up-to-date cutting areas, reserve areas, trails, roads and landings. KNP file
Kimberley Nature Park logging imminent

In the area of Shapeshifter, Thunder Turkey, Mr. Toad, Jimmy Russell Road, the Front Boulevard, the Army Road and Bear Trail.

Environment Canada has issued a snow warning for the Kootenays on Friday. File photo
Environment Canada issues snow warning for Friday

Two-to-10 centimetres is expected to fall

Carmen Hintz poses with the four kittens she rescued. Paul Rodgers photo.
WATCH: Kimberley local rescues four kittens, starts fund to help others

Kimberley local Carmen Hintz has found her house to be a little… Continue reading

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

The Anonymous YVR is an Instagram page that reviews restaurants and other establishments around B.C. based on how well they adhere to COVID-19 rules. (Instagram)
Anonymous Instagram page reviews COVID-19 safety measures at B.C. businesses

There are a number of public health orders various types of establishments must follow to slow virus’s spread

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. (Facebook photo)
Search efforts to resume for missing Manning Park hiker; Trudeau speaks on case

PM says he’ll do what he can to ‘nudge’ efforts to find Jordan Naterer, yet has little leverage locally

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Most Read