The first official constituency meetings related to the leadership race to replace Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell have attracted around 30 to 40 people.
The constituencies of Coquitlam-Burke Mountain and Port Moody Coquitlam held meetings Thursday evening to elect delegates to the party convention that will approve the rules for voting on a new leader. Each constituency can send 20 delegates to the convention on Feb. 12.
Everyone who wanted to go to the convention was elected as one of the constituency delegates or an alternate.
Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MLA Doug Horne and Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Iain Black said the selection of delegates did not involve any partisanship. None of the leadership candidates asked to speak to at the constituency meetings. “These are procedural affairs and it was mercifully short,” Mr. Black said, referring to his constituency meeting. Mr. Horne said the meeting for his constituency lasted about 10 to 15 minutes.
Both Mr. Horne and Mr. Black have endorsed Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon in the leadership race.
Mr. Black said his early endorsement of Mr. Falcon was not an issue at the constituency meeting. His constituency members understand that MLAs have a role to play, he said in an interview Friday.” They had no problem me declaring that and accepted that part of my job and my responsibility to make such a declaration,” he said.
He declined to reveal which candidate was receiving support from others in his constituency.
Mr. Horne said his constituency members were “comfortable” with his choice of leader. “I spoke to people in the riding before,” he said. One or two executive members support Christy Clark, a radio talk-show host and former Liberal cabinet minister but “the vast majority” support Mr. Falcon, he said.
Mr. Horne was not concerned about the turn-out at the delegate-selection meeting. “It’s going to build over time,” he said. The leadership race is an opportunity for the party to reach out and get more people involved in the party, he said.
Delegates to the Liberal convention will have a choice between two options for the voting process: The current system requires the winner to receive 50 per cent of the votes plus one in results across the province.
The party executive has proposed changes that would give equal weighting to each constituency. Candidates would receive points based on the share of the vote they received in each constituency. They would still be required to receive 50 per cent plus one.
The remaining 83 constituency associations are expected to hold delegate-selection meetings over the next two months. The vote for a new party leader is to be held on Feb. 26.