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Left to right, George Abbott, Terrace Mayor David Pernarowski, Nisga'a Nation President Mitch Stevens and "Maverick" Bill Bennett
REPORTING · 23rd February 2011
Merv Ritchie
Updated - Second Half of Q and A Session Video with Abbott now uploaded, which starts with a revelation of Campbell's divisive style. Click on the forth video attachment below.

From the statements made yesterday afternoon, February 22, by George Abbott’s supporters, it appears that if the Liberal Party wants more of the same kind of leadership, a stay the course plan, as they had with Campbell, Abbott is not the guy.

Former MLA Bill Belsey, now independent Bill Bennett and conceded to Abbott, leadership candidates; Dr. Moira Stilwell and Ed Mayne, all joined Abbott in entertaining 30 Liberal party supporters at the Sandman Hotel in Terrace Tuesday, February 22.

“George and I think a lot alike”, began Bennett, “the difference is I say it out loud.” drawing boisterous laughter from those gathered.

Bennett was a featured speaker, besides Abbott, at this engagement of support and with Bennett’s colourful history it would appear his attendance should be the single most significant factor for those who are able to vote for the next leader of Province of BC.

Love him or hate him, Bennett is a man’s man. He says what he means and he means what he says. Bennett finally had had enough of the style of Gordon Campbell after 10 years and made a public statement of his disappointment with the leadership style. Today at the Sandman Hotel many statements were made that reflected these same sentiments being held by Abbott.

Today, February 23, is anti bullying day and it is a unique opportunity, with this visit to Terrace by some of the BC Liberal Party MLA’s and their membership, to use this event to demonstrate the entrenched nature of bullying. Bullying is not just done in the school yard, it is reflected throughout society and reaches deep into the highest levels of power.

George Abbott wants to change this attribute of the Liberal Party Leadership and he is asking all those who feel the same way to join him. He states he wishes to rebuild the faith of the people in the vision of British Columbia.

“We have lost, as a government I think, a connection with the grass roots in this province. We have, I think, created a situation where people don’t believe their government is listening to them anymore.”

Abbott was very careful to not critique Campbell and his style specifically, but instead referred to the last year and a half as being the period of time of serious mistakes. Bennett was less generous when he resigned from the Liberal Cabinet referring to Campbell as a bully.

Abbott spoke about connecting with the people and getting input from not just an inner circle but from his cabinet colleagues, the members of the legislature and the people across BC. Abbott clearly stated he was not knowledgeable in all areas and would be seeking input from those in the rural areas of BC that did have the knowledge.

The introductions and expressions of support for George Abbott from those who were travelling with him lasted approximately 17 minutes. Abbott’s direct speech to the Liberal loyalists in attendance lasted another 17 minutes. Abbott then allowed for a direct question and answer session, which lasted for a full 30 minutes. Many of Terrace’s most prominent citizens took this opportunity to raise their concerns.

Former Terrace Mayor Jack Talstra exposed that which has caused the greatest concern among political watchers and participants in BC politics over the past decade, all decisions being made directly from the Premiers office.

“That kind of decision will no longer be coming out of the Premier’s office, it will be made collectively?” asked Talstra referring to the new Natural Resource Operations (NRO) Ministry adding, “It seemed to come out of the Premiers office without any consultation.”

Abbott agreed turning to Bennett asking, “Bill, you were Energy and Mines right?", then turning back to face Talstra and the crowd, "And I was Aboriginal relations Minister, and neither of us knew anything about the reconstruction of all those Ministries that we were a part of, which is the most peculiar thing, one of the most peculiar things, that I encountered in government, and it is not a step ahead when the Ministers are not involved in the reconstruction of their own Ministries.”

The entire forthright and honest, unrehearsed, affair has to be seen to be appreciated.

We have uploaded the entire event in three parts, which can be accessed and viewed by clicking on the attachments below.
Hmmm.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 23rd February 2011
The shortcomings of Campbell only appeared to all these folks after 9 years and the HST. Really impressive.