Fence-sitting Falcon, the van Dongening, and the rougher ride to come

Guest post by Brett Mineer, an award winning journalist, former reporter/anchor for CKNW 980AM in Vancouver, and current freelance writer and commentator.

Brett MineerSo Kevin Falcon says he hasn’t decided if he will run for re-election in 2013.

This is the same Kevin Falcon who just over a year ago was fighting Christy Clark for leadership of the BC Liberal Party, his campaign even questioning if Clark had the chutzpah to stick with the party, or turn and run if defeated.

What does Falcon’s indecision on the subject suggest about the state of the BC Liberal union?

It’s likely if really pressed Falcon would say he has family considerations etc, but these days one can only wonder if there’s more to it.

While efforts were made by Premier Christy Clark and her caucus to downplay the defection of former Solicitor General and Abbotsford-South MLA John van Dongen to the BC Conservatives, it clearly has major implications for a party and Premier on the ropes.

This isn’t lost on the Premier, despite her assertions to the media a full 24 hours after the fact that caucus remains united – so far as they will tell her anyways.

There are reports out of Victoria that upon her return, Premier Clark called an emergency meeting of her caucus to determine where they stood on her leadership.

Globe & Mail columnist Gary Mason reports the Premier was “resolute” and “dismissed the long term consequences” of the dastardly defection “insisting that better days were ahead if everyone stuck together”.

Sticking together may get harder to do, even for those who before Monday, may not have dared consider doling Clark a van Dongen of their own.

New polling (conducted before the ‘van Dongening’) offer a grim picture for the Premier and her party.

The Mustel Group puts the NDP at 42 percent, the Liberals at 34 percent, and the BC Conservatives at 17 percent, and that is the most flattering of the polls.

An robo-call Forum Research poll conducted March 19 put the NDP at 47 percent, with the BC Liberals and BCCP in a dead heat at 21 percent.

Angus Reid shows Premier Clark’s approval rating at the bottom of the barrel this week – a pathetic 33 percent.

The message in the mayhem is that as the clock ticks down to 2013, without a major momentum reversal the nightmare “split on the right” scenario Clark has been threatening caucus and voters with is coming to pass – just as The Socialists are banging at the gates.

Worse yet, it is happening as BC Liberals are spending on “Risky Dix” anti-NDP propaganda, and following a fall attack ad campaign warning against the “unprincipled” leader of the BC Conservatives, John Cummins.

Then there is the money.

At what point do corporate and other donors begin to hedge their bets and begin flooding the coffers of the perceived government in waiting with cash?

A high-up inside source at camp BCNDP recently told me it is already starting.

Is it more likely the so-called “free enterprisers” will split donations between the Liberals and Conservatives or go with the guy (albeit a dirty commie) who appears to have it in the bag?

I’m not a betting man – but I’d venture you a free guess that the worst is still to come for the Christy Clark government.

About Brett Mineer

Brett Mineer is an award winning journalist, former reporter/anchor for CKNW 980AM in Vancouver, and current freelance writer and commentator.
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