The next B.C. election may be about a year and a half away, but local BC Liberals are already working on an aggressive campaign to take back a riding the party hasn’t won since 2001.
At its annual general meeting in Invermere on November 28, the party’s Columbia River-Revelstoke riding association discussed plans to build fundraising and recruitment committees in each of the area’s four largest communities.
The riding also voted in a new president, as current leader Doug Clovechok steps away from the board to focus on being the riding’s next Liberal nominee.
Clovechok, manager of the Invermere campus of College of the Rockies, told the small crowd at the Invermere Inn he hasn’t officially been named the party’s next candidate yet, but expects to have his run announced once the party fights two by-elections on the Lower Mainland.
Clovechok has already set up websites and social media accounts dedicated to his run for office, and new association president Todd Mitchell says supporting his run for office will continue to be one of the main focuses of the riding.
“It’s going to be a tough fight, but we’re committed to winning this riding back,” says Mitchell, owner and general manager of the Invermere Inn, who says he’s supported the Liberals since the late ’90s because of their “pro-business” leanings.
While political commentators at one point predicted a fall 2011 provincial election, Mitchell says the government’s decision earlier this year to hold the next general vote in May of 2013 will likely work in the riding association’s favour.
“I think it is an advantage for us to have more time to organize within the riding, and get around to more people in the riding in each of the four areas: Kimberley, the Columbia Valley, Golden and Revelstoke,” he says.
Local Liberals say they see connecting the riding as an integral part of winning it back.
“The riding is so big it’s completely fractured,” Clovechok says. “People in Kimberley don’t know what’s going on in Revelstoke, and they don’t care.”
In addition to fundraising and recruiting, committees planned for the four communities will also act as forums for people to talk about local issues, Mitchell says, giving the association a better idea of what concerns are at play.
“It’s a very large riding, as far as ridings go in British Columbia,” he adds. “We want to connect people… and make sure everyone’s aware of each other’s issues.”