Liberal candidate Kevin Falcon visits Keremeos

Cloverdale- Surrey MLA Kevin Falcon met with party members in Keremeos last Monday as the Liberal party leader hopeful stumped through the Lower Similkameen.

Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon chats with party members at the Riverbed Bistro in Keremeos on Monday. Liberals will elect a new leader to replace Gordon Campbell on February 26.

Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon chats with party members at the Riverbed Bistro in Keremeos on Monday. Liberals will elect a new leader to replace Gordon Campbell on February 26.

Cloverdale- Surrey MLA Kevin Falcon met with party members in Keremeos last Monday as the Liberal party leader hopeful stumped through the Lower Similkameen.

He spoke to 15 residents, gathered at the Riverbed Bistro, about his reasons for taking on the leadership race, his experience in three ministries, as well as offering up reasons why they should elect him as Liberal party leader.

“Leadership matters,” he told his audience, discussing his experience in three difficult portfolios, which included Minister of State for Deregulation, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Health.

“I was one of the longest serving ministers in highways,” he told the group, with six years in the Ministry.

“Two thirds of the budget was spent on projects outside the Lower Mainland,” Falcon said, indicating to the audience that he saw himself as representing the whole province, not just the Lower Mainland.

Falcon also spoke of the challenges of the health ministry portfolio, expressing optimism that the annually escalating health budget could be contained by “changing how we look at the system.”

“I’m not afraid to be up front and honest about what is necessary,” he said.

“I’m not afraid to do what’s right, even if it’s not easy.”

He also expressed a strong wish to see the party not become divided as a result of the leadership race.

In response to questions from the audience, Falcon reiterated his commitment to moving forward improvements to the Hope Princeton highway. He was also asked about the present government’s treatmemt of the agriculture ministry.

“I think we can do a better job here,” he said of agriculture,” noting that “dirt “ ministries – agriculture, forestry and mining – tended to get squeezed the most when it came time to put budgets together. “We’ve got to ‘smartly’ put more dollars into agriculture.”

He also noted that increasing health expenditures were sucking dollars out of other ministries as well.

Falcon sees himself as a new generation of leader, one who can connect with youth and generate political interest in that demographic.

“I was the only candidate who launched his campaign outside Vancouver,” Falcon said, noting that he launched his campaign in Cloverdale and followed that up with an appearance in Prince George.

“I want to send the signal that I will be premier of the whole province, by demonstration rather than just by words,” he said.

“I believe leadership consists of being a good listener, learning, and leading. I’m not afraid to put policy into action – talk is meaningless unless you can act.”

Agricultural Minister Ben Stewart was also present at the meeting.

The Liberal leadership elections take place on February 26.