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Kevin Falcon 'suspicious' NDP is giving support to BC Conservatives to 'divide the centre-right'

BC United leader Kevin Falcon has said he’s “suspicious” that the NDP could be giving the Conservative Party of BC support in an attempt to divide the right.

Speaking to KelownaNow on Thursday, the leader of the opposition said Premier David Eby is “the happiest person in the world” amid the BC Conservatives’ apparent surge in popularity.

“He's very happy,” Falcon said. “In fact, I'm suspicious that there's even some support that they're providing the BC Conservatives.”

He added that it “may not be financial,” before explaining that “it's in [Eby’s] interest to try and boost the BC Conservatives to divide the centre-right vote.”

Falcon did not specify exactly what sort of support the NDP could be providing to the BC Conservatives.

In response to the comments, BC NDP Campaign Director Marie Della Mattia told NowMedia that Falcon’s claim “is desperate and completely false.”

The Conservative Party of BC’s executive director, Angelo Isidorou, also said the comments were “desperate,” adding that Falcon is a “weak and delusional politician” who is “resorting to conspiracy theories about our success.”

Falcon made the remarks during a discussion about the prospects of a BC United victory in the next provincial election, which must be held on or before Oct. 19 this year.

According to one recent poll, the BC Conservatives have leapfrogged BC United as the second-most popular party in BC. But if the parties merged, the pollster said, they would win 56 per cent of the vote.

The website 338Canada – which is run by astrophysics professor and political commentator Philippe J. Fournier – estimated in a Feb. 1 post that, based on surveys, the NDP stands to win 81 seats at the next election. It predicts the party has more than a 99 per cent chance of winning another majority.

The BC Conservatives would come second with six seats, according to the projection, while BC United would win four – just ahead of the Greens with two.

Falcon, though, said he isn’t panicking because he’s “seen this movie before,” pointing to the BC Liberals’ victory in 2013 after polls had consistently shown Adrian Dix’s NDP was ahead in the race.

“We have always had a problem with BC Conservatives over the years,” he said.

“They are not connected to the federal Conservative Party. It's a totally different party. They typically hold, you know, interesting views – to put it mildly – on a range of subjects and they find it difficult electing people because at the end of the day, by the time the election comes around, people say those people are too extreme, [I’m] not going to support that.”

<who> Photo credit: 338Canada </who> 338Canada's most recent BC election projections.

He also said that the polls showing the BC Conservatives growing in popularity are “just voter confusion.”

“People are like, ‘I'm not sure who BC United is. That name doesn't ring a bell.’”

They then see “Conservative,” Falcon explained, and say: “Oh yeah, definitely: Pierre Poilievre, that’s us.’”

He said the party was putting out a “major ad campaign” that will broadcast the message about “Kevin Falcon and BC United.”

John Rustad, Falcon insisted, “is not running to be premier” because “there’s no scenario in which he will ever be premier of this province.”

“While I get the nervousness [about the BC Conservatives], I'm very confident at the end of the day; the public's a lot smarter than we give them credit for.

“They look at the leaders and they say, Who's going to be the best premier to get this province turned around? And I feel my chances are going to be very good when they look at me compared to Eby.”

The BC Conservatives, however, were vociferous in their rejection of Falcon’s assessment.

Isidorou, the party's executive director, said Falcon “is never going to be premier” and “continues to imply voters are stupid.”

He added: “We believe British Columbian voters are smart and knowledgeable about the difference between provincial and federal government.

“Over a quarter of BC voters support our party. According to several recent polls, most of these voters are previous BC Liberal, Green and NDP voters. Shame on Kevin Falcon for calling thousands of ordinary British Columbians, including former BC Liberals, ‘extreme.’”

Pointing to polls, Isidorou said “the race is between the BC NDP and the Conservative Party of BC.”

“In the end, we believe John Rustad will make history as our next premier,” he added.

The NDP, meanwhile, also strongly denied Falcon’s claim that the party is somehow aiding the BC Conservatives.

Mattia, the BC NDP’s campaign director, said: “Once again, he is making things up to distract from his own record of making life harder and more expensive for people. David Eby has unequivocally denounced John Rustad's hateful and divisive rhetoric on many occasions."

The NDP pointed to remarks Eby made in Vancouver yesterday, in which the premier said he wanted to “bring British Columbians together.”

“We have an offering, during the election, of a party, the Conservative Party of British Columbia, that is profoundly focused on driving us apart," Eby said. "It doesn't matter whether it's Indigenous issues, whether it's youth issues, it is profoundly disturbing to me what they are doing in our province."

To see the full interview with Falcon, head here.

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