The Liberals are hoping to build on their strong start in the province’s first provincial election since 2001, but their election campaign is beginning to look more like a coronavirus scare than a true test of their leadership.
On Tuesday, Premier Christy Clark announced that she has asked for $15 billion in public funding for infrastructure, but she is also seeking to raise money from a range of sources to build a new political base in the Sunshine Coast, including from corporations and individuals.
It’s the latest indication that the Liberals, who have struggled to win votes and in some cases been caught short of promises, are hoping for a big boost in the campaign, and they are trying to capitalize on the political environment to boost their image as a governing party that is strong on the economy and jobs.
The Liberals have not yet revealed the exact number of people who would be eligible to receive their first monthly payment of $15 per month, and a new website has been set up to help them gauge how much support they can expect to get from the public.
But some of the people who have already been offered the payment have already signed up to receive it.
Among those who have signed up are the chief executive of the BC Chamber of Commerce, David MacNaughton, who says he will be giving a series of interviews in the coming days, and the founder of the Greater Vancouver Economic Club, Andrew MacLeod, who has made a name for himself by launching and running for the legislature.
He has also made it clear that he’s eager to help the Liberals win, and he’s even promised to give them his personal phone number.
But for all their rhetoric, Clark is still facing criticism for not doing more to support the B.C. Liberals in the way that the party has been able to do, and that includes taking a public stance on the coronaviruses.
On Thursday, the NDP’s candidate for British Columbia’s legislature, John Horgan, was criticized for his lack of commitment to support for the Liberals in this campaign.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done by the party in the next two years and beyond,” he told reporters.
“We know that Christy Clark has a long track record of being weak on this issue, and I think she should be held accountable for that.”
Horgan has faced a number of criticism for his campaign, including for not being as forthcoming with his plans on the budget and the need to raise more money from the wealthy.
On Monday, the BCABC said it was canceling its election day event in Vancouver.
The organization had scheduled a private fundraiser at a Vancouver mansion where Horgan had promised to hold a private reception.
But Clark said it will go ahead, and she has called on members of the public to join her in Vancouver for a private party at a hotel in the city’s Chinatown.
The party will take place on Friday, June 29, and will cost $5,000 a ticket.
Horgan will speak at the party, but he’s also promised to host a number in private homes, and have guests attend private events.
The event will also feature a reception with Horgan.
“I think we need to do a better job of supporting our party in BC, and if we can do that we will win this election,” said Horgan in a statement.
“The NDP and the BC Liberal parties should focus on the issues that are most important to the voters of British Columbia.”
With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press