We should all remember this: Blair Wilson, excommunicated from Liberal caucus for not being entirely above the board... according to his own father-in-law. Well, Wilson is still working as the MP and seems not to be a thorn in the local riding association's side. Now, who will be the new candidate, and when?
This riding is one of great wealth, great diversity and will be the focus of the World in 2010.
It is a microcosm of a lot of BC issues. Tourism, logging, quality of life, money. West Vancouver, a tony suburb of Vancouver; Whistler, the tourism Mecca of BC; Squamish, the resource town in between, with large working class and First Nations populations; the Sunshine Coast, resource workers and hippies, not to mention a few retirees.
The riding is a battleground. In 2004, John Reynolds, Tory house leader (and creep), was prematurely called the loser. In the end, he won by a scant 1687 votes (3%, down from a 21% margin in 2000).
In 2006, with Reynolds retired, his perennial opponent Liberal Blair Wilson beat the new Conservative candidate, John Weston, by only 986 votes (1.5% margin). Then, in 2006, things went pear-shaped for Wilson, (as linked above).
It was claimed that Weston was a "star" candidate. Sure, maybe, I dunno. But here we are now, post-sponsorship scandal (having won the riding), with a new slippery Liberal MP. How will the riding's voters react?
Likely, same as last time. If they didn't mind voting for a Liberal when the country was sick of doing so and more than a little turned off of the party, why would they change their vote now? At the same time, Reynolds was never a popular figure but rather won the riding through name recognition. Obviously his successor didn't have that advantage in 2006 but may in the coming election. While likely that the Liberal vote will stick, it is in no way guaranteed. Politics is local and the Liberal MP is scandalized.
The riding must be carried by the Liberals to keep their lock on the big cities. It will also give them a much needed seat in BC. The riding cannot be neglected. The Conservatives have a strong organization in the riding, and surely taste blood in Wilson's ejection. The Conservatives spent $86'000 in the riding in 2006 (the Liberals spent $82'000).
It's time to focus, build a campaign and select a strong, well-respected, progressive candidate for West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Country - Candy and Bubble Gum - Trees and Shrubs - Skis and Snowboards.
Afterall, we want a progressive Liberal on the podium in 2010.