COLUMN: Falcon’s farewell

Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon did a lot for Surrey and Delta.

Kevin Falcon has been one of the hardest-working Liberal MLAs and cabinet ministers, and he’s done a great deal for Surrey and Langley.

His decision to step down as finance minister and not run again in the 2013 provincial election is partially based on having a young family, as he said Wednesday, but it is also with an eye to the future.

The BC Liberals have almost no hope of winning the next election, and their very survival as a party is in doubt. The rise of the BC Conservatives under John Cummins has led to almost half of the former Liberal voters going with them, according to the polls. Even if that number shrinks by quite a bit, it is obvious that the fight between the Liberals and Conservatives will elect a whole lot of NDP MLAs.

The best example of what will likely happen was in the Chilliwack byelection a few months ago, where the NDP won a seat the party has never held.

Falcon can read polls as well as anyone. He also knows that a general election is much different than either a by-election or whatever the latest polls say. But as long as the Conservatives run candidates in all ridings, and poll at least five per cent province-wide, the Liberals cannot win.

My best guess is this — Falcon will take a private-sector job, but will keep his political options on the back burner. He’s young enough that he can still return to the provincial fray.

He has been an excellent Surrey-Cloverdale MLA — I speak as one of his constituents who has been more than satisfied with the attention he has paid to this riding.

He has done excellent work on the deregulation side, as transportation minister and most recently as finance minister. He had a great shot at the Liberal leadership, and came second to Christy Clark. While he may have made a better leader, the fact is any new leader had to deal with so much baggage from the past 10 years that it would have been difficult to survive the election.

One of Falcon’s best moves in government may not get much attention from the provincial media, but deserves a mention. When he was transportation minister, he ordered that the sale of the BC Rail Port subdivision, which runs between Cloverdale and Deltaport, not go ahead. This was after it became clear that the sale of the main BC Rail operations had not been handled well by the government. Any sale of the Port subdivision would almost certainly have some serious scandal attached to it. It remains the sole piece of BC Rail trackage still operated by the provincial Crown corporation.

The entire BC Rail sale will be fully examined by an inquiry which will almost certainly be set up soon after the next election, and when it finally reports, I predict that Falcon will be one of the few ministers from the initial Gordon Campbell cabinet whose integrity remains intact.

One of his low blows was when he called the decision by voters in last year’s referendum to go back to the provincial sales tax “dumb.” Voters are always right, and elected officials who decry them don’t understand how our system is supposed to work. He is correct that the HST would have been a more efficient sales tax, but his government mishandled the entire issue from beginning to end. That’s why voters spanked them soundly. That’s why the PST is coming back. It may not be the best tax around, but the decision wasn’t dumb.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Telethon promotes Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID response funding

Entrepreneur Manjit Lit gifts Surrey Hospital Foundation, challenges others to join him

Stanley Cup win for Surrey-based NHL scout who coached in North Delta

Grant Armstrong is among 11 WHL alumni currently with Tampa Bay Lightning

Another death as COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital climbs to 18 cases

Total of 12 patients and six staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

Surrey’s Johnston Heights reporting COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 27

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Most Read