Kevin Falcon, BC United, Leader of the Official Opposition Party.
Photo via leg.bc.ca
The New BC United formerly BC Liberal Party
Published 11:33 PDT, Fri September 15, 2023
Kevin Falcon (KF), BC United and Leader of the Official Opposition Party, dropped by the Richmond Sentinel (RS) for a brief interview.
RS: Why did you change the name of the BC Liberal Party?
KF: We had a discussion with the membership, one that our party has had for many years. Seventy-five percent of our membership said yes to a name change. We wanted a name that would bring everyone in our province together. The name selected was BC United because we believe making everyone welcome and working together will bring better results.
RS: We live in a social media driven world, so you have to find creative ways to reach people over the age of 50 who don’t live on social media but vote. How are you meeting this challenge?
KF: Part of our challenge is to let people know that BC United is the former BC Liberal Party. It does take time. The next election is in October 2024 so for the next year we will continue to get our message out through social media and normal advertising platforms to reach every demographic.
RS: An important issue that you have raised, is ‘Drugs in Parks’. Can you explain why and what you want to see happen, because I don’t think a lot of people realize it’s not against the law.
KF: The provincial NDP government decriminalized hard drugs for 2.5 grams or less, and they didn’t put any safeguards around that policy. We need to have a law that says “you are not allowed to openly use drugs in our parks, playgrounds, beaches and public spaces.” There’s nothing the police can do because it’s been decriminalized.
RS: As the opposition leader you are there to call out the government when needed. What is it that you want people to know?
KF: It’s not easy being the opposition and always calling the government out. The NDP approach of buying motels in downtown cores and warehousing people with mental health and addiction issues without any kind of support has created chaos in the community. We can’t keep doing this. The policy is failing the most vulnerable, just putting a roof over their head is only part of what needs to be done. Some of these folks require a high level of care. We need to open up modernized facilities where they can receive 24/7 medical care and hopefully in a couple of years they can move back into the community or to a group home facility. Our primary purpose should be to help them get off addictive drugs with free treatment and recovery programs.
RS: Let’s talk about your first one-hundred-day plan: health care, housing, crime, and transparency.
KF: In health care, we’ve gone from one of the best health care systems in the country to one of the worst. We’re sending cancer patients to the U.S. and one in five have no access to a family doctor. Crime is at an all-time high, we have the highest housing crisis in North America and highest rents in Canada. These results are not good results and I’m going to ensure that we are held accountable for improved results.
RS: I want to ask you about crime. From my experience when something happens to a tourist in our city the news reaches other countries and it has an impact on our tourist industry. What can the government do?
KF: Of the number of police charges, seventy-five percent are released. Four people every day are being attacked by random strangers. We have to have consequences for bad behaviour. We have forty individuals in Vancouver that last year, had 6,385 negative interactions with the police. That is a small group of people causing a huge problem—that has to change.
RS: The municipalities can only do so much. How much support is required from the provincial and federal government on main issues like crime and the housing crisis?
KF: It’s always important for the federal government to play a role with the provincial government. It’s important to have clarity in our list of ‘asks’ so the federal government knows what our priorities are.
RS: You stepped away from government for a decade and entered the corporate world. What did you bring back from the corporate world to this political arena?
KF: My advice to politicians: work in the corporate world and experience how difficult things are. I was in the housing sector, in a senior position, and I saw how delays impacted housing projects. I got back into politics because I don’t want a reckless drug decriminalization policy, I don’t want to have crime spinning out of control and we need to solve the housing crisis. I believe these are fixable problems. We can’t fix everything in the first one hundred days but we can get started.
RS: You stepped away from politics because you had a very young family, how has having a family affected your lifestyle today?
KF: Before having a family, I worked whatever hours needed to get things done. My kids gave me perspective on life, and I think a lot about, how hard it is for people today, that so many are struggling. A recent study reported fifty-two percent of people in BC are $200 a month away from insolvency. The NDP government introduced twenty-nine new or increased taxes since they’ve been in power. Do we see the benefits?
RS: Knowing what you know today, what advice would you give your younger self when you were just entering politics?
KF: Do more than you think you have to do.
To watch the full interview go to richmondsentinel.ca/videos