Randy White used to be quite close to Preston Manning during the heady days of the Reform Party movement, so the organizer for the BC Conservative Party in Oceanside was mystified about why Manning would throw his support behind the BC Liberals.
Manning, the former leader of the Reform Party, came out in favor of the Liberals and squarely against the BC Conservatives in a statement last week, arguing that the BC Conservatives are threatening to split the vote and help elect an NDP government.
In an interview, White said Manning was off base with the comments.
“I was pretty close to Manning in my day, being the house leader,” White said. “He is known for making the odd political statement that didn’t work out. Anybody today who narrows their focus to the extent … doesn’t know much about B.C.”
White likened the argument to one that many British Columbians can relate to on a visceral level.
“It’s like eating the food on a ferry or eating the food on an airplane,” he said. “Which food do I like better? Frankly, I will wait until we get to our destination and go to a restaurant.”
Similarly, he said, many people, himself included, aren’t happy with either the Liberals or the NDP and are searching for an alternative.
“It was a pretty naive comment,” he said. “What that says is, if I am a Liberal politician, I can do whatever I want, spend as much as I want and alienate the population as much as I want because if you split the vote, you get the NDP.”
White said he is seeing a growing number of people who don’t like either option and aren’t willing to vote for them.
“What do we do? Do we sit back for the next 20 or 30 years and let the province be run by these people, who don’t have a good track record and are not liked?” he asked. “Do we sit back and say if we vote any other way we will get the NDP? The Liberals are saying we can be as bad as we want because you are stuck with us. Well, I, for one, am not stuck with the Liberals or the NDP. They are not, under any circumstances, going to get my vote. I don’t want either one.”
White said the BC Conservatives are getting some quality candidates putting their names forward across the province.
“They are saying, wait a minute, I present a better option than either of these parties,” he said.
As for his former boss, White had some advice for him.
“Maybe Preston Manning should move to B.C. and understand the politics,” he said.