The B.C. Liberal leadership hopefuls have all made their way through Merritt, except Moira Stilwell who is not planning on stopping here, to meet with potential supporters.
On Feb. 12, the party will be holding an “extraordinary convention” to determine which voting system will be in place for leadership election to be held on Feb. 26.
The party currently has a one-member, one-vote system, in which every party member is eligible to vote for the leader, and every vote is worth exactly the same.
This gives the heavily populated areas in the south of the province a huge edge over the say and direction of the party and this is why a new system has been proposed to address this disparity.
Under the proposed regionally weighted system, every riding would be worth 100 points, even the sparsely populated ones. Leadership candidates would compete for 100 points in every riding, whether that riding has 10 Liberal members or 10,000.
The candidate who will benefit the most from the proposed regional system would be George Abbott, who is relying heavily on regional support and is the only candidate that genuinely is seen to represent a truly rural perspective.
The other candidates have all said in one way or another that they would favour a regional vote as it does bring fairness to the system.
But for candidates like Kevin Falcon and Mike De Jong, they would benefit most if this resolution fails on the floor.
Of course a leadership convention is not a general election and what may work for the candidates to get them elected as leader, could also prove their undoing when it comes time to appeal to the public at large.
With many liberal members feeling alienated from the decisions that their party has enacted over the last few years the best thing that could be done to energize the “heartlands”, would be to enact a system that is seen to accurately reflect the party throughout B.C., not simply the concentration of power within the lower mainland.