The least known of the six candidates vying to succeed Premier Gordon Campbell as Liberal leader and B.C. premier, Ed Mayne made a quick stop on Kelowna Tuesday.
“I realize I am not well known. Twenty miles out of Parksville, no one knows me,” conceded Mayne, the 60-year-old former mayor of that small Vancouver Island community.
But while admitting winning the leadership will be an uphill battle, he said he is in it to win and if not, if he can get some of his ideas adopted by the party, he will feel as if he won.
One of those ideas is free votes in the B.C. Legislature for the Liberal caucus MLAs on everything other than confidence motions.
He said it is important to take the politics out of leadership and governing and for the government to start doing what is right rather than what is politically expedient.
Another idea is to limit future B.C. premiers to serving two terms.
“This is the hardest job any of us (candidates) will have and it’s important that we have renewed vision from time to time.”
Mayne, who owns a Tim Hortons’ franchise in Parksville and has worked as a vice-president of a bank, a national shoe company and the Tim Hortons corporate office, said he brings both a business and local government perspective to the race.
He did not enter the leadership contest until earlier this month, delaying his announcement because he had to step down from his position as mayor of Parksville. If he had announced in December, it would have triggered a by-election that could have cost his town $30,000.
As a former mayor, Mayne said he has seen the need for a better relationship between Victoria and the municipalities across the province.
And to that end, he said, while he supports the controversial Harmonized Sales Tax, he would like to see its proceeds redistributed to equate to five per cent for the federal government, five per cent for the provincial government and two per cent for municipalities instead of the current funding they receive from Victoria.
That, he said, would not only make municipal funding in B.C. fairer, but would also take the “politics” out of that provincial funding.
Unlike several of the other candidates in the race, Mayne said he does not favour moving up the planned September referendum on the HST because he feels more time is needed, not less, to explain to British Columbians why it is a good move for the provincial economy.
“I don’t think it is the HST people are upset about,” he said of the opposition to the HST.
“It’s the way it was introduced.”
The Liberal leadership vote will take place Feb. 26.