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Falcon visits Langley in last leadership lap

Kevin Falcon spoke to about 30 BC Liberal party members in Langley on Wednesday morning, as he enters the final days of the BC Liberal leadership campaign. Members will select a new party leader and premier on Saturday.  - Frank Bucholtz/Langley Times
Kevin Falcon spoke to about 30 BC Liberal party members in Langley on Wednesday morning, as he enters the final days of the BC Liberal leadership campaign. Members will select a new party leader and premier on Saturday.
— image credit: Frank Bucholtz/Langley Times


Rich Coleman and Mary Polak are doing all they can to ensure that Kevin Falcon wins the BC Liberal leadership on Saturday.
That's why the two Langley MLAs hosted a breakfast with Falcon on Wednesday morning in Langley City. He spoke to about 30 party members about the leadership race, his experience in government and his connections to Langley.
Both Coleman and Polak are among the 19 BC Liberal MLAs backing Falcon's campaign.
Coleman emphasized the importance of every vote. While the BC Liberals have adopted a weighted voting system with each constituency having 100 votes, how those votes are distributed is dependent on members' voting. They can vote from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, either by telephone or computer.
"Nobody knows how it will all break down," Coleman said. "Nobody has ever done it before."
Coleman's wife Michelle is setting up and operating a phone bank to remind Fraser Valley Liberals to vote. It is similar to one she has operated during each provincial election.
Coleman said the vast majority of BC Liberals in his riding of Fort Langley-Aldergrove will likely cast their ballots for Falcon.
Polak recounted how Falcon made sure the 204 Street overpass in Langley City would go ahead. The project, a high priority of City council, was running into some snags that threatened to shelve it. She asked Falcon, then minister of transportation, to have a quick conversation with her and then-mayor Marlene Grinnell, and within 24 hours, the problems had been resolved.
"It went ahead, and it wouldn't have otherwise," she said.
Polak said Falcon was her campaign manager when she was first elected to Surrey school board in 1996, and he brings that type of experience to the premier's office.
"We are voting for someone who will rebuild the party infrastructure and make sure we're ready for 2013."
Falcon emphasized the importance of keeping the party together after the leadership votes have been cast. He said the party is a coalition of people with varying political affiliations federally, but exists to keep the NDP out of power.
"You are the hiring committee," he told members. "There are three things to keep in mind as you are hiring — who can keep the caucus united and together; who will built the coalition and who will show leadership to reconnect with the public and provide good clear sound leadership for the province."
Falcon said that he is planning to win, but even if he doesn't, he will run in the next provincial election and work with the new premier.
He said the fact that he represents Surrey-Cloverdale means he knows the local issues, and pointed to his work on South Fraser Perimeter Road, the Port Mann Bridge project and the nine rail overpasses along the line to Roberts Bank.
"It's time we have a person from the Fraser Valley in the premier's office," Falcon said.
He has been visiting with Liberals all over the province in recent weeks. On Tuesday, he spent time in Williams Lake, Vernon and Kelowna. On Wednesday, he planned to meet with groups of BC Liberals in the Lower Mainland. A rally is planned at Cloverdale Fairgrounds on Thursday evening.
He has been particularly impressed by the level of interest in areas where he didn't expect it. A group of young professionals in Vancouver staged a leadership debate— and 1,000 people, all in their 20s and 30s, came out.
A supporter of his insisted on staging a fundraiser in Prince Rupert, which has been an NDP stronghold for most of the past 40 years. Falcon suggested that they do a coffee shop meeting with interested people, but his supporter insisted on a full-blown fundraising event, and 250 people showed up.

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