The B.C. Liberals have become complacent and are turning to “career politicians” in a re-election campaign that is based on survival rather than championing fresh perspectives.
That statement did not come from the NDP but one of the Liberal challengers for the candidate’s job in the riding of Vancouver-False Creek.
Brian Fixter, a 31-year-old commercial litigation lawyer, blasted the Liberals during his speech Wednesday night to about 100 members of the party faithful gathered at the Century Plaza Hotel on Burrard Street.
“I believe the greatest challenge we are facing is our sudden focus on simply surviving,” he said to a largely older crowd. “And in adopting this survival mentality, we’ve become complacent. We’ve turned to career politicians and we’ve clung so very desperately to these fraying strands of the past.”
Added Fixter: “I believe we cannot get to victory in this coming election by looking in the rearview mirror.”
Fixter was up against former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan and former Vancouver-Burrard Liberal MLA Lorne Mayencourt, whose political careers date back more than a decade.
Sullivan won the race with 273 votes to Mayencourt’s 202 while Fixter finished a distant third with 40 votes in what was his first campaign for political office.
While Sullivan and Mayencourt used their speeches to boast about their previous achievements, Fixter’s message focused on how people of his generation are not inspired by politics.
“I want to become part of the fix — and not from some naïve youthful standpoint — but from the knowledge that change has to come from within this party and be led by a person of convictions who understands that a challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow down to it,” he said.
The Liberals’ connection to British Columbians “seems strained”, he continued, adding that the party’s polling numbers are “unquestionably weak.”
He urged members to be bold and “champion fresh perspectives” by choosing him as their candidate in Vancouver-False Creek.
“Because if I’m nominated, we eliminate all the bitter messaging about sins of the past,” said Fixter, who lives in the former Olympic Village. “We would re-energize our connection to those living in the riding and we would prove once and for all that the B.C. Liberal party is capable of bold and innovative change.”
Reached Thursday morning by telephone, Fixter agreed his message didn’t resonate with the core of the riding’s membership but said the response wasn’t unexpected.
“I think we were preaching to a crowd which, maybe, wasn’t going to be on the uptake of what we were trying to do,” he said. “But I also think it was valuable to have that voice and that message come forward.”
The nomination race was necessary because current Liberal MLA Mary McNeil is not seeking re-election in the riding.