Martyn Brown: The state of play in B.C. politics

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Such is the state of play for the B.C. Liberals as 2017 rapidly rolls to a close…

It’s still early days, I know, to be rushing to judgment on the new government’s performance. The real test will come soon enough, with next year’s budget and legislative session, with a new Liberal leader in place, and with the referendum next fall on electoral reform…

For the most part, the (Green-NDP) alliance has offered new hope to the 57 percent of voters who supported those parties. Most of us are elated that the NDP is methodically honouring the election promises that formed the basis of its power-sharing agreement with the Greens…

To the extent that those swing voters are otherwise content with the NDP’s more socially progressive policy agenda, they may well flock in even greater numbers to support the Horgan government. If an election were held today, the NDP would slaughter the competition and win a massive majority…

All of which must be really rotting the Liberals’ tattered, red Christmas socks. Especially since their party leadership contest has done so little to generate public interest or attention…

Sam Sullivan, anybody? Ah…no. Don’t think so…

Michael Lee? ZZZZ…

Mike de Jong…I gather he’s reverted to just “Mike” again…

Andrew Wilkinson… Wilkinson may look like he is a made-for-TV politician, but he always strikes me as being one quote away from a nuclear meltdown of Kim Campbell-ian proportions…

That leaves Kamloops MLA Todd Stone, the B.C. Liberals’ former transportation minister and one-time junior aide to Gordon Campbell. He is the one who I think will likely triumph on February 3 and who I believe is ultimately his party’s best hope for generational renewal and regional strength in numbers…

Name recognition or experience in any past ministerial portfolio is not necessarily determinative of how any of those candidates might fare in a provincial election four years hence.

What matters most is relatability: the capacity for forging human connections through all forms of communication—physical, verbal, visual, and otherwise. That is the eternal key to winning voter trust and support, along with a compelling vision and message…

I predict that Stone will win the Liberal leadership, firstly, because he is well-organized and broadly supported in every region of the province. That is critical to winning the Liberal leadership race…

Put simply, Stone stands out from the rest of the pack and contrasts well with Horgan. His regional and generational appeal are strong assets, as is his past success as a technology company founder and entrepreneur…

Could he beat Horgan? Not if proportional representation wins the day, in the referendum next November. But quite possibly if an election is called before 2021, or if it is fought on our current electoral system. Stone is hands-down the B.C. Liberals’ most telegenic, relatively youthful, and best communicator, which in this day in age is nine-tenths of the battle.