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Abbott wins youth endorsement over 'new generation' Falcon

Health Minister Kevin Falcon is likely to present himself as the “new generation” candidate in the Liberal leadership race, but Shuswap MLA George Abbott already has the support of key members of the party's youth wing.

“I've always looked at George as a uniting figure,” said Maz Artang, a vice-president of the BC Young Liberals. “I think he's exactly what we need to win.”

Artang and three other members of the Young Liberals executive--Shahin Behroyan, Lindsay Gardner and Chris Sandve—today announced their support for Abbott. President Donny van Dyk is the only member of the executive not to endorse Abbott, and the release explains he must remain neutral as a member of the BC Liberal Party executive.

The endorsements come with just Abbott and Vancouver-Langara MLA Moira Stilwell having officially announced their candidacies. Attorney General Michael de Jong and Health Minister Kevin Falcon are poised to join the race this week, with former MLA and radio talk show host Christy Clark and Solicitor General Rich Coleman thought likely to announce soon as well.

Public Eye reports that Falcon appears likely to be branded by supporters as the “new generation” candidate when he makes his announcement Nov. 29.

“I think Falcon is fantastic,” said Artang, a Simon Fraser University student. “He's awesome. I personally think George Abbott is who we need who can unify the party and win the election . . . It's nothing against Kevin Falcon at all.”

Abbott sought endorsements from members of the young Liberals, Artang said. “He asked me and I weighed out the options.”

Artang described Abbott as funny, witty, likable and smart.

“We came down to George Abbott having that different approach the BC Liberal Party and the province need,” said Geoff Sharpe, president of the BC Young Liberal club at the University of Victoria. “Kevin's young enough but I wouldn't necessarily say he speaks for the way the youth would like to see the province led forward.”

People know what Falcon has to offer, Sharpe said, adding he prefers Abbott's approach. “I consider [Abbott] one of the most approachable and likable MLAs I've talked to.”

Other youth endorsing Abbott include Kwantlen University Club President Kevin Skrepnek, Okanagan College Club President Hannah Drought and 2009 youth campaign organizers Alex Zhu and Jeff Griese.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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