In the wake of the announcement by then-finance minister and deputy premier Kevin Falcon that he is stepping down from his cabinet positions and won’t seek re-election in 2013, South Surrey’s two other BC Liberal MLAs say they are prepared to stay the course.
Both Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg and Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux said Falcon’s announcement Wednesday was expected.
“I’m completely not surprised,” Hogg told Peace Arch News shortly after Falcon made his statement.
Hogg said when he spoke with Falcon about a week-and-a-half-ago, it seemed that “the issues of his family and the issues of the job were in conflict.”
“I know it was a very difficult decision,” Hogg said.
Cadieux was also prepared for the announcement, in which Falcon said he could not to commit to continuing the Finance portfolio and running for re-election, as his wife, Jessica, is expecting their second child.
“I think that Kevin has been thinking about this for some time,” she said Thursday. “With a new baby expected, that’s the big commitment, and I wish him and Jessica the best.”
While Falcon and Hogg have had what Hogg described as “healthy disagreements” in the past, he said he respects Falcon and predicts his now-former colleague will be back, though not necessarily in public office.
“I think Kevin will always be involved (in politics) in one way or another.”
As for his own political future, Hogg said he still plans to run in the next B.C. election.
“I still have passion and excitement (about the issues),” Hogg said.
“I think there’s lots of neat things to be done.”
Cadieux, Minister of Social Development, said she has every intention of running in the next election.
“We’ve not had a nomination meeting, and no date has been set for one yet, but I fully intend to run.
“I’m not done yet,” she added, with a chuckle, noting she has held three different cabinet posts since she was first elected in 2009, including Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government and Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development .
Cadieux said she had particularly appreciated Falcon’s help in her first 3½ years in office.
“He’s been a fantastic person to work with, and he has been very supportive of me in my political career. He’ll definitely be missed – we were fortunate to have him in B.C. as long as we did.”
Cadieux remains adamant that B.C. is “a great province with a great government,” but acknowledges “that doesn’t mean there’s nothing that doesn’t need improving.”
“The biggest challenge facing us is the economy – which means the global economy. We’re not an island unto ourselves – there’s a lot of volatility in the economy and that’s certainly in the minds of those of us who oversee provincial finances.
“I believe in responsible government and sound fiscal policies and I believe I do have more to offer.”
As of Thursday afternoon, three more MLAs have announced they will not run in 2013: George Abbott (Shuswap), John Les (Chilliwack) and Mary McNeil (Vancouver-False Creek).
– with files from Dan Ferguson