FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The only declared candidate for the leadership of the BC Conservative Party has pledged to introduce a provincial election platform which would follow the lead of Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall that includes selling government owned liquor stores and casinos.
Dan Brooks says historically crown corporations were established and operated in this province as a means to stimulate and lead economic development.
However, he argues “Over the past 15 plus years, the BC Liberal governments of Christy Clark and Gordon Campbell have ignored the vital and historic economic development role that crown corporations have performed in British Columbia”.
He believes BC Rail was sold for a song…BC Ferries transformed into a shell of its former self with nearly one point three billion dollars in long-term debt…and BC Hydro turned into such a financial mess, that the Auditor-General has reported it probably is losing money.
As a result he says the Liberals became increasingly reliant on Liquor Distribution Branch and Lottery Corporation revenues to “Fill provincial coffers and reward their political friends with patronage plums.”
He says under his leadership the Tories will campaign to win a mandate to sell the government owned liquor stores and casinos, and restore the historic role of crown corporations as engines of economic development.
He says through its licensing and taxation operations the province would still receive substantial and on-going revenues from gaming and liquor sales, but crown corporations would be “Re-purposed to lead, encourage and showcase economic growth”.
Mr. Brooks says, “Very simply we believe there are more effective ways to promote economic growth in British Columbia than dealing cards and selling booze.”
The Provincial Conservatives will select their new leader at a September 17th convention in Prince George, and Mr. Brooks, citing the absence of high profile prospective successors, in a recent Globe and Mail interview, is hoping to regain the job he won in 2014, but gave up in January of this year.