The B.C. Conservative Party hasn’t won a seat in the legislature since the 1970s. Trevor Bolin is trying to change that.
The leader of the party made a stop in Quesnel on Saturday, Oct. 17, making the case for Cariboo North candidate Kyle Townsend.
Bolin has been the only leader to tour the Quesnel area so far.
With only 19 candidates running for the party in 2020, Bolin knows it will be a long road back to relevance for the B.C. Conservatives.
He hopes that road starts with this election.
“We are behind the eight ball,” he said.
“There’s no possible way we can win a majority in this election, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have a voice. The days of the parties being about the parties is over. People now demand that the parties be about them.”
The B.C. Conservatives have made supporting the forestry industry a central part of their campaign, pledging to establish a committee that would include local, provincial and First Nation governments to better use the resources.
“Right now, B.C. is suffering,” Bolin said. “We’ve lost thousands of jobs, mills are closed, we’re losing a lot of revenue for families throughout this province, and that committee would enable us to ensure we’re competitive, we’re ahead of the market.”
Speaking in front of the Two Mile Flat lumber yard, Bolin added he wants B.C. to assess stumpage fees more often, as is the case in Alberta.
“[Alberta’s] got their thumb on the pulse, and are able to ensure that they’re industries succeed, and right now they are,” he said. “The prices of finished product in B.C. are as high as they’ve ever been. While we’ve got mills sitting here closed, and lumber sitting here rotting — and we need to change that.”
Bolin and Townsend say if the B.C. Conservatives are able to gain influence in the legislature, they’ll commit to supporting northern B.C. industry by investing in infrastructure.
While election day is set for Saturday, Oct. 24, Bolin might not know if he’s been able to grab a seat until weeks later.
Elections BC expects 35 per cent of voters in the election to do so by mail. Mail-in ballots in B.C. are not counted until a week after election day and must be cross-referenced to ensure no one’s vote is counted twice.
Townsend is one of four candidates vying for the Cariboo North seat, alongside the NDP’s Scott Elliott, B.C. Liberal Coralee Oakes and the Green Party’s Douglas Gook.