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mitchell rant

Independent MLA David Mitchell says he is waiting to see what happens at the B.C. Reform Party's annual convention in Kamloops this weekend before deciding where to place his political allegiances. Mitchell addressed the founding meeting of the West Vancouver-Garibaldi constituency of the B.C Reform Party last week, urging the party members to seek the "middle ground." Mitchell told the association he believed when he was elected as a Liberal in 1991 there "was an opportunity to establish a new kind of liberalism." He says that dream is now dead. "It is dead because of the shameful direction that the Liberal Party has taken under its new leader, Gordon Campbell. Mr. Campbell seems dedicated to re-establishing a 1990s version of the kind of corrupt, old-style, Vancouver-based political machines that I thought we were rid of in B.C." Mitchell told the association the Liberals under Campbell have ignored the populist nature of B.C. politics and the province "won't take easily or kindly to a big-city, big-spending, big-taxing Vancouver mayor whose only goal is to become some kind of a new-age political boss fronting for a gang of political mercenaries who are loyal to no one but their own self-interest." The West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA said the Liberals have abandoned the middle ground and many British Columbians are wondering where Reform stands. "My view is that all three of the major B.C. parties have an opportunity to win the next provincial election," Mitchell said. "And the contest will go to the party that can occupy the middle ground." Mitchell urged the association members to "resist the forces of intolerance or bigotry who will only bring discredit to your cause... unequivocally reject those voices of the extremism who would steer your party to the far right," and stick to the five basic principles in the Reform party's constitution: free votes in the legislature, fixed election dates, initiative, referenda and recall. The Reform party currently holds four seats in the legislature. Any party that has five seats gains official party status and qualifies for additional funding. Meanwhile, Ted Nebbeling, the Liberal Party candidate for West Vancouver-Garibaldi, told a constituency association meeting last week that the party must fight complacency. He promised that a Campbell-led Liberal government will live within its means, including passing balanced budget legislation.