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Campbell takes campaign to the ‘burbs

BURNABY – ‘Business’ was the word of the day as Gordon Campbell brought his leadership campaign to key swing ridings.

“It’s the small businesses of British Columbia that are the backbone of our economy,” the premier said during a rally at a warehouse in south Burnaby. “The BC Liberals are always going to be there for small businesses because they support families across the province.”

Campbell used the word ‘business’ 20 times during a nine minute speech dedicated to portraying the New Democratic Party as poor fiscal managers.

The ruling party’s campaign has consistently focused on the economy. It’s an issue that 48 per cent of British Columbians think Campbell is best suited to deal with, a recent Angus Reid poll suggested.

But the premier didn’t come all the way to Burnaby just to promote his economic credentials. Campbell spent the entire day with four local BC Liberal candidates likely to face four of the tightest election races in the province.

In 2005, voters elected Liberals in three out of four constituencies here, but no candidate won by more than three per cent.

“Burnaby traditionally has always been a tough race,” BC Liberal candidate for Burnaby-Deer Lake John Nuraney said. “This time around it’s still going to be tough.”

The two-time incumbent is up against the NDP’s Kathy Corrigan, wife of well-known local mayor Derek Corrigan.

In 2005, 10 suburban ridings in the Lower Mainland were won by very slim margins. Given the Liberals took the election with only 13 more seats than the NDP, the outcome of the May 12 vote could very well be decided in places such as Burnaby.

Campbell was obviously aware of the fact.

“I need you to go out and talk to your friends,” he told supporters. “I need you to remind people how important their vote is.”

Geoff Dembicki reports for The Tyee.

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