Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon presents his first provincial budget as finance minister in February.

Noncommittal finance minister mocks media reaction

Surrey MLAs Gordon Hogg and Stephanie Cadieux say they will run in 2013, while Kevin Falcon says he won't decide this far ahead.

Has BC Liberal MLA Kevin Falcon changed his tune on running for re-election in 2013?

Not according to him.

B.C.’s finance minister – and Surrey-Cloverdale MLA – told Peace Arch News this week that the media has overreacted to comments he made to reporters when discussing the soul-searching process he says he always goes through before making the final decision to run in any election.

Falcon caused a stir in a media scrum Wednesday when he said that he had not made a final decision on running again, and that it would be subject to discussion with his family.

“I’m a little bit amused by the fevered discussion in the media,” Falcon said in a telephone interview the next day. “I said the same thing I say every time. I generally don’t make the decision 14 months ahead of the election.”

The province’s next fixed election date is May 14, 2013.

Reached by phone Thursday, fellow local BC Liberal MLAs Gordon Hogg (Surrey-White Rock) and Stephanie Cadieux (Surrey-Panorama) did not equivocate on their future plans – both said they would run again in 2013.

Discussing the fallout from his comments, Falcon said he thinks the media is “hypersensitive” because of the resignation Monday of BC Liberal MLA John van Dongen, who immediately joined the BC Conservatives, leading to speculation that Premier Christy Clark’s BC Liberal party is splintering.

“They (the media) ran with scissors on this,” said Falcon, adding he was still chuckling over House Leader Rich Coleman’s response to questions about whether he planned to run in the next election.

“He had the best line,” Falcon said. “He said ‘absolutely – but I’m making the final decision six months before the election.'”

In February, Falcon delivered his first provincial budget as finance minister, saying it was aimed at eliminating the province’s deficit by 2013-’14, protecting public services and building a more competitive economy that would generate jobs and bring in new investment.

“It’s built on fiscal discipline, and it lays a firm foundation for the future we all want,” he said, at the time details of the budget were released.

During the BC Liberal leadership campaign one year earlier, Falcon was also widely quoted that “win or lose” he would run for the party in the next election.

On Wednesday, he seemed to cast doubt on that commitment, when he was quoted as saying,”As Minister of Finance, there are very, very long hours, there is travel, there are issues that you also have to factor into the final decision that you make.”

Among other members of the Liberal caucus, both Education Minister George Abbott and former finance minister Colin Hansen have said they are considering their options before deciding to run next year.

 

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