While he concedes it doesn’t hurt, Wayne McGrath says it’s going to take more than long-simmering resentment about the imposition of the HST to make his BC Conservative Party an electoral contender in the province.
That’s why, McGrath, the president of the newly-invigorated party, said the party’s upcoming AGM in Nanaimo is so important.
Interviewed during a stopover in Qualicum Beach Tuesday, McGrath said anger over the tax will likely help his party’s fortunes, regardless of the outcome of the HST referendum.
“If it’s a yes vote, then that, in my opinion, would be an indictment against the current Liberal government,” he said. “Even a no vote would likely be very close. People are really upset.”
That anger, he said, has already sparked a remarkable resurgence of the long-sidelined party, but now it’s time to take things one step farther and offer a positive alternative.
“What people want now is some hope,” he said. “They are fed up with the Liberal government and a lot have a fear of the NDP. They want an alternative, a party they can have some hope in. It’s up to us to show them what we stand for.”
The party will have a chance to do just that on Saturday, Sept. 24, when members gather at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo.
Besides bringing in a new board of directors, he said the meeting will provide the party an opportunity to present the province with a set of policies that can provide a positive choice.
Topping the list, he hinted, will likely be taxation issues. The party will also, he said, address other areas of concern at the AGM.
“Health care waiting lists are so long and people see the fiasco with BC Ferries, the billion dollar smart metre program and ICBC rates going up,” he said. “School boards are paying extremely high salaries to not only teaching staff but also administrative staff, and there is a huge number of Crown corporations and agencies that should be reviewed and will be reviewed under a Conservative government.”
Such a government, he conceded, remains a long way off, but the first steps on that road have been taken and the vistas those steps have opened up have been nothing but encouraging.