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Premier pleads for support from party faithful in Kelowna
B.C. Premier Christy Clark has told a Liberal party fundraiser in Kelowna that next May's provincial election will be the most important in decades.
While that is said by politicians prior to every election, Clark said it is particularly true this time because she fears for B.C.'s free enterprise economy if the NDP form the next government.
And, while not directly mentioning the emerging B.C. Conservatives who she has, in the past, said could cause an NDP win by bleeding off support from her right-of-centre party, the growing popularity of the Conservatives under former federal Conservative MP John Cummins was a hot topic among many of the 150 guests invited to the Liberals outdoor barbecue Thursday afternoon.
Hosted on the family farm of Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson, the guest-list included a who's who local movers and shakers and power-brokers.
The numbers were bolstered by several cabinet ministers, who along with Clark were in West Kelowna earlier this week for a cabinet retreat.
Clark listed several of her government's achievements during a short speech that touted recent liquified natural gas plans for the north, health care spending in the Okanagan and even this week's tentative agreement with B.C. teachers as signs the government is turning the provincial economy around.
Clark invoked the spirit of former B.C. premier WAC Bennett of Kelowna, saying it was his vision for this province that has lead to the success it now has in marketing its natural resources to the world.
But, recognizing the growing popularity of the NDP in recent public opinion polls, the growing strength of the B.C. Conservatives and the dropping approval ratings for her government, Clark urged the crowd to work for her party over the coming months so the Liberals can be re-elected next spring.
"We need you," she said. "Without your support, everything we have worked for could be ripped up."
Clark also returned to the message that helped her win the Liberal leadership last year after former party leader and premier Gordon Campbell quit, pushed out in part due to the unpopular Harmonized Sales Tax. Clark said she got back into politics because of families and she wanted to make B.C. the best place in the country for families. She ran fo rthe leadership on a "families first" platform.
"Because, when our families are strong, our country is a great one," she told those who gathered at the Thomson farm Thursday.
And, despite the fact the Liberals have won three elections in a row, with majority governments each time, the premier painted herself and her party as the underdog heading into the next spring's vote.
She spoke of the L.A. Kings, the eighth place team that recently won the Stanley Cup in hockey.
She said no one gave them a chance but because they believed in themselves, they were able to win, beating two of the the best teams in the league this year en route to the cup.
"We need you to also believe this is possible," said Clark in her appeal for support.