News Release BCRefed07-01 July 12, 2007
VICTORIA The B.C. Refederation Party today announced the appointment of John Twigg as its interim leader and declared its plans to aggressively try to win seats in the May 2009 B.C. election.
Party president Dennis Shaw told a ceremony in front of the B.C. Legislature today (Thursday) that the six-years-old party now has an excellent opportunity to gain widespread popularity in the next election because Mr. Twigg has an extensive and unique background in B.C. politics and government that gives him and the party an ability to campaign on a full range of the crucial issues before the public today and to offer many creative new solutions to its problems too.
Our party is six years old and still small, with only a few hundred members, but now with John‚expertise in the issues and with his journalist‚ability to make complex ideas more easily understood by people we in the party now have high hopes of doing quite well in the next election,said Shaw.
Twigg, 58, has for last 20 years been an independent member of the Victoria Legislative Press Gallery, mainly publishing his own newsletters such as B.C. Politics Trendwatch, but he also has engaged in a wide variety of other media, business and personal interests over the years, including being a single father for 10 years and being a communications consultant in a wide range of industries.
Previously Twigg was Financial Editor of the Regina Leader Post for about seven years and an active freelancer in Saskatchewan for resource industry journals between 1976 and 1985. He is familiar with industries such as agriculture, oil and gas, coal, mining, railways, telecommunications, financial services and others and more recently has come up to speed on B.C.‚forestry, fishing and other industries too.
From 1972 to 1975 Twigg was Press Secretary to B.C. Premier David Barrett and thus he traveled widely with the Premier both inside and outside the province and got a first-hand look at many rarely-seen things.
Even today I„¢m probably still one of the few people who can say they„¢ve been to virtually every city and small town in B.C. but who also have seen the business and financial centers of the world,said Twigg, who later as a journalist also participated in a variety of sponsored study tours.
My years with Dave Barrett were an invaluable learning experience for me and to this day they have given me a strong understanding of how British Columbia works and thinks €œ and I understand how the government is supposed to work too, especially the Legislature but also the cabinet and deputy ministers.
That experience plus other things like my family‚deep roots in this province have given me a great love for this place and a sort of intuitive understanding of its people and their communities and now I have a burning desire to make things better for them too €œ especially because I know enough about the province‚finances and economy to say it could be easily done if the government of the day had the will to do it.
Twigg was the first person to hold the Press Secretary post in the province‚history and that also made him an innovator in many government institutions including quite a few that continue in use today some 30 years later. They include the news conference theatre, the free telephone inquiry service and arguably even the Public Affairs Bureau, among many other diverse moves such as his successful urgings to get the Nitinat Triangle included in the West Coast Trail National Park. (He had previously written the first guide book to the West Coast Trail for the Sierra Club of B.C.)
Twigg was born and raised in West Vancouver, received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and English from the University of B.C. in 1972 and began a long career in the media by volunteering for five years on the Ubyssey student newspaper then working for the Vancouver Sun full-time, then writing the guide book prior to joining Barrett a few months before the pivotal 1972 election campaign.
I now consider myself fluent in a wide range of issues and policy areas including financial and economic issues, environment issues, social policy issues, regional issues, bureaucracy issues, development strategies, democratic structures and process, labour relations, treaty negotiations, Crown assets, Health finances and more €œ many of which I stay up to date on by carefully monitoring all of the excellent work done by my colleagues in the news media and in other communications professions, with a special thank-you to CKNW.
I„¢m going to miss journalism so much that I„¢ll probably continue doing some of it (for which there are ample precedents) but mainly for the next two years I„¢m going to focus on getting BC Refed‚messages out to voters and trying to win seats in the next election, including my own North Island seat.
We have a fair chance of achieving that due to the combination of the now-obvious crumbling of the Campbell regime and the lack of creativity coming from the NDP €œ while B.C. Refed can and will be unveiling an amazing array of new policy initiatives to really make B.C. shine and prosper in a troubled world, not only strengthening our democracy but expanding and diversifying our economy too.
The recent B.C. Progress Board report paints a picture of B.C. having a booming economy but meanwhile its ranking in social conditions is ninth! And that‚just the latest of many indications that the Campbell Liberals inexplicably have stashed away billions of dollars in surplus accounts, they have lots of money to hand out for projects mounted by their friends and insiders, like old Socred-style real estate developments and blacktop politics, but they don„¢t have any money for poor people who can„¢t afford to eat and pay rent, let alone get their teeth fixed.
I could go on with many many complaints against the Campbell government‚record, like Campbell‚personal gross hypocrisy in taking a huge retroactive pension after campaigning against it, and I can„¢t believe the Carole James caucus hasn„¢t done more to expose such flaws, but the point is I„¢ve become so fed up with the bad decisions and blatant hypocrisies coming from the Campbell Liberals, especially their cover-ups of the scandals in their first term, that I„¢m going into politics to try to do something about it.
The party‚policy priorities include implementing a Direct Democracy system (which would give voters a potential veto over bad decisions by government), having the public vote for the first time on a B.C. Constitution, renegotiating B.C.‚Terms of Union with Canada (which it calls refederation) and in the meantime delivering good government, sustaining the environment and making the economy more prosperous and equitable.
With my 40 years of experience in this milieu I know for certain that it is quite possible for the B.C. government to follow a policy direction that would be more moderate and much more effective, efficient, creative and sensitive without ever having to get radical, without having to jack up taxes or slash social programs. We can do that by doing existing things better, with more consultation and good will, and by doing lots of new things that none of the other parties are talking about, but which we will be unveiling in the coming months, such as some sensible solutions to the ferry problems, better ways to deal with street crimes and new ways to generate new revenues from new green industries €œ as well as our proposed constitutional and governance reforms,said Twigg.
Shaw said Twigg‚leadership will be voted on soon by party members using a mail-in ballot.