George Abbott meets Abby Liberals

Would-be premier George Abbott told Abbotsford Liberals that the leadership race is about rebuilding British Columbians’ faith in the party and connecting with the grassroots of the province.

Liberal leadership hopeful George Abbott (left) chats with MLA John van Dongen and Coun. Patricia Ross during a luncheon in Abbotsford.

Liberal leadership hopeful George Abbott (left) chats with MLA John van Dongen and Coun. Patricia Ross during a luncheon in Abbotsford.

Would-be premier George Abbott told Abbotsford Liberals that the leadership race is about rebuilding British Columbians’ faith in the party and connecting with the grassroots of the province.

“We have fundamentally lost the trust and confidence of many, many British Columbians,” he said. The Shuswap MLA told an audience of about 50 at a luncheon today (Wednesday) at the Phoenix Lounge that the government also needs to re-focus development of the province’s natural resource industries – such as forestry, agriculture and mining – to generate wealth.

“When our resource industries are doing well, the rest of the economy pretty much takes care of itself.”

He said the HST was done without proper consultation or communication, but he still stands behind the tax.

“It’s hugely important that we maintain the Harmonized Sales Tax,” he said, and added that he would work hard to promote the HST to “guys in cowboy hats, hard hats and ball caps who make our economy work.”

Abbott is supported by Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes and Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen.

Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong is among the six candidates running for the party leadership, including Christy Clark, who was in Abbotsford last week.

Van Dongen said Abbott’s humble and consultative style is what appeals to the MLAs.