Premier Gordon Campbell Guest Blog

Comments 7 by Rebecca Bollwitt

I had the opportunity to interview Premier Gordon Campbell a little while ago although unfortunately our schedules couldn’t match up to make it actually happen. As such, the Premier took some time to answer a few questions for my readers (some of the questions were sourced from my Twitter contacts as well).

Gordon Campbell is a candidate in the Vancouver-Point Grey riding.

Question from Twitter: The social media community in Vancouver organized “Mental Health Camp” this past weekend and with this in mind – on top of the pressing topic of homelessness, are there any plans to support the untreated living in the Downtown Eastside?

Answer from Gordon Campbell: I think we have made a breakthrough in meeting the challenges of homelessness. The first step is to see it as a personal problem, not simply a political label. There are many causes of homelessness – mental illness, addiction, family breakdown, isolation, lack of income. The way to deal with it is one person at a time. That’s why we have started the outreach program – it has helped 4,600 people already. It’s why we allow people to stay in shelters instead of closing shelters part of the day. The new Burnaby Center for Mental Health and the addiction center at Karameos are also helping.

The 43 new buildings we have acquired has stabilized housing for vulnerable populations and the partnership we are building with the city of Vancouver will add thousands more units. Addiction services, new mental health services, and more safe and healthy accommodation is a start – it has taken a quadrupling of our investments but it is beginning to result in real benefits for the people we are trying to help.

Question from Twitter: Parties are running attack ads but the public would rather see positive messages about what the parties have done and can do for them (rather than what the opponent lacks). What would you say are the top three highlights of the Liberal government past, present or going forward?

Answer from Gordon Campbell: We are not running attack ads, the NDP is. We’ve chosen to focus on the most important issue facing B.C. – jobs and the economy and the positive steps we can take to make BC a better place to live. British Columbians worked very hard after 2001 to get the province’s financial house in order. We balanced B.C.’s books, cut taxes to the lowest in Canada, and worked to make B.C. one of the best-positioned economies in North America. Going forward, we’re focused on creating more jobs for British Columbians and keeping our economy strong. We’re investing $14 billion to build schools, roads, hospitals and other public infrastructure, which will create about 88,000 jobs. We’re lowering taxes on the small businesses that support over one million B.C. jobs and encouraging the investment that creates jobs.

Question from Miss604: Although Vancouver is the hub of activity in B.C., what are your main concerns or areas of focus throughout the rest of B.C.?

Answer from Gordon Campbell: So far this campaign I’ve travelled through the Cariboo, the Kootenays, the Interior, Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, and everywhere I go people are concerned about the economy, their job, and their family. The people I’ve met want a government that is focused on building a stronger BC economy, on creating jobs, and on building our economic competitiveness because they know all our public services need a strong economy to get ever better. They know we can come through this global economic downturn stronger than ever. We’re focused on creating jobs, and on supporting workers in sectors like forestry, mining, tourism and the green economy. The question British Columbians in every corner of the province are asking themselves in this elections is: ‘Who is best suited to guide British Columbia through these difficult economic times?’

Question from Miss604: You’ve been on Twitter for a while now, posting updates, and even doing blogger outreach – how has social media affected your campaign so far and do you enjoy being part of the online community?

Answer from Gordon Campbell: I’ve enjoyed learning more about social media tools like Twitter and Facebook – it’s an exciting way to directly connect with people that goes beyond the traditional communication of mainstream media. Traditionally, the only way to directly reach a voter was by phone or through knocking on doors. Social media is a new way to literally “knock” on people’s online doors and engage voters. I have lots more to learn, but we have a digital campaign group which is specifically focused on digital outreach, including a social media strategy. The most powerful political messages come from regular people telling their friends/family/co-workers why this election is important to them rather than them hearing it from candidates or political parties. We also have a digital activist program that encourages people to get the word out through their own personal online networks. It’s become clear through recent elections – particularly in President Obama’s groundbreaking use of social media – that social media is increasingly going to be an important way of connecting with young voters at election time and for all of us in our day to day lives.

I’m reminding everyone that Tuesday May 12th is election day but that you can also vote in advance polls which are open from Wednesday May 6th through Saturday May 9th. Click here to find your riding and polling station. You can vote even if you haven’t pre-registered. Click here to find out what you need to bring to your polling station.

I’d like to thank Premier Campbell for taking the time to respond and write this post, as well as the other candidates that I have interviewed for this election. I am also trying to setup some email questions/responses from the other candidates for Premier so that I can provide some balanced coverage on the site.

The most important item to note is that every vote counts and be sure your voice is heard on May 12, 2009.

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7 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. AmyMonday, May 4th, 2009 — 2:13pm PDT

    Thanks for bringing us this article. It’s especially encouraging to hear what is being done for the homeless in our city.

  2. GiacomoMonday, May 4th, 2009 — 2:17pm PDT

    That’s really cool! I like how advanced the BC Liberal’s digital campaign has been. I remember Jeff Fox recently saying that “most people don’t understand Facebook” and that’s kinda silly. I don’t use a landline and spend most of my day outside of the house. If a candidate wants to reach me they can’t do it through the traditional means. That’s why I’m glad to see a party reaching out through Facebook, through Twitter, and through blogs – three mediums I use on a daily basis.

  3. Michael KwanTuesday, May 5th, 2009 — 8:53am PDT

    Although I don’t completely agree with all of Campbell’s policies, it’s good to see that he is taking advantage of social media and reaching out to demographics that may not otherwise be accessible through conventional means.

  4. AngelleTuesday, May 5th, 2009 — 9:18am PDT

    When we were young, communications was, if were lucky an electric typewriter, and reaching our family when away from home required our finding the American Express office so that we could send a letter using Air Express Mail which took days and weeks to be delivered. So many things have changed, and yet we are better off if our generation finds more ways to talk and listen and I would like to say thanks for showing leadership both in keeping your core values and embracing and using the technology to reach out to communicate. Leadership is more that repeating what may have worked, but having the courage and confidence to seeing the trends, and creating opportunities for engagement for everyone.

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