B.C.'s political parties ramp up for October provincial election

B.C. Premier David Eby staged a campaign event Thursday in Vancouver before taking time out of the spotlight to spend some time with his family.

Eby said he and his wife, Cailey, are expecting a daughter on June 27, so he wanted to make an early start to campaigning for the Oct. 19 election by introducing four New Democrat candidates: former broadcaster Randene Neill, Baltej Dhillon, the first RCMP officer to wear a turban on duty, Indigenous leader Michael Moses, and Vancouver community support advocate Sunita Dhir.

B.C. Premier David Eby speaks during a B.C. NDP campaign event in Vancouver, on Thursday, June. 20, 2024.
B.C. Premier David Eby speaks during a B.C. NDP campaign event in Vancouver on June 20, 2024. (Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press)

He told the campaign crowd that his government is making progress on health, housing and the economy and he wants that to continue.

He has also taken a page from the playbook of past leaders of western provinces, publicly airing grievances with Ottawa.

Eby's early campaign start comes amid open battling between B.C.'s two right-of-centre parties, Opposition Leader Kevin Falcon's B.C. United and John Rustad's upstart B.C. Conservatives.


Eby has said British Columbia isn't getting enough immigration funding and he is having his team see if B.C. could join Newfoundland and Labrador in a court case against the feds over equalization payments.

In an interview with CBC's The Early Edition, Eby said he's been "on a journey" with Ottawa and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Eby said that when he was first sworn in as premier he believed Ottawa's lack  attention to the province was due to B.C. not being visible enough in Ottawa.

"So I said, OK … we're going to go to Ottawa … we're going to be in front of ministers. We're going to lay out our priorities … [and] we're gonna get some things done," he said.

But that didn't work, he said.

"I have been stymied," he said, referring to his frustration that Ottawa gave Quebec $750 million to support immigration but didn't provide funding for flood preparedness in B.C.'s Sumas Prairie after Ottawa had said it would support the project.

"I just hit the wall about it and had to bring the discussions public because we're not getting our fair share in B.C.," Eby said.

Tax reductions

Falcon's B.C. United has promised to "fix affordability by unleashing economic prosperity."

BC United party leader Kevin Falcon announced his party's platform on Thursday. In a statement on the party's website, it vows to 'fix affordability by unleashing economic prosperity.'
Kevin Falcon's B.C. United has vowed to 'fix affordability by unleashing economic prosperity.' (Chad Hipolito / The Canadian Press)

That prosperity, according to the party, can be restored by decreasing personal income taxes.

"We believe in leaving more money in people's pockets and restoring B.C.'s economic competitiveness," reads a campaign backgrounder on the B.C. United website.

In addition, the party has committed to "reducing red tape" and speeding up permit approvals in mining and LNG. It also commits to "major project investments" that will lead to jobs and "restore affordability."

Falcon said the party has been stung recently by the loss of caucus members and candidates to the B.C. Conservatives. But these things happen in politics, he said, citing the NDP's loss of former elected members Selina Robinson and Adam Walker.

"Yes, we've lost candidates and MLAs, too," he said. "This kind of thing, unfortunately happens. But when the election rolls around, the public looks around."

The Conservative Party of B.C. is continuing to announce candidates, which include some who've defected from B.C. United and a political heavyweight with a background in municipal politics.

Linda Hepner, seen in this image taken from a video interview, has been nominated as the B.C. Conservative Party candidate in the upcoming provincial election in October for the new riding of Surrey-Serpentine River.
Former Surrey mayor Linda Hepner, seen in this image taken from a video interview, is the B.C. Conservative Party candidate for the new riding of Surrey-Serpentine River. (CBC)

On Thursday the party announced former Surrey mayor Linda Hepner will come out of retirement and run as the Conservative Party candidate for the Surrey-Serpentine River riding, running against the NDP's Dhillon.

Former BC United MLAs Elenore Sturko and Lorne Doerkson recently crossed the floor and said they'll seek re-election as Conservatives.

In addition, Chris Moore, a business leader and former District of Sechelt councillor, announced Wednesday he would no longer represent B.C. United for the Powell River-Sunshine Coast riding and will instead run as a candidate for Rustad's Conservatives.