So how does Dan Brooks feel about becoming an official leadership candidate for the B.C. Conservatives?
“Refreshing,” he said. “I’m excited about this I have a chance here to make a real difference especially for northern rural communities which have been greatly neglected in the past and so having a leadership candidate that comes from Vanderhoof, what an opportunity.”
Brooks’ paid his $20,000 leadership fee and finished all the paperwork by February 3.
His platform is centered around three basic things: advocating for rural B.C. and addressing their needs; financial management of the province, including tax reform; and grass roots democracy or decentralization of power in the province.
Flat income tax is one of the solutions that Brooks is looking at for the better financial management of B.C.
“I really believe that we need to introduce a greater deal of fairness in our tax system,” said Brooks. “Flat tax is one way to do that. I’m not suggesting I have the exact number and I think we need to look at the need in B.C. and have the one that works for best for British Columbians.”
Brooks admits there are risks to changing a tax regime but still advocates it after a period of study to find out what would work.
“I think one of the biggest problems we have in our current political is the centralization of power in the hands of the premiers office. The premier makes all the decisions and its hard to escape the perception if not the actual reality that the premier controls every aspect of government and the buck stops there… our MLAs become beholden to the premier on everything, so many people are appointed to positions without any sort of electoral or review process.”
“You’ve got to allow your MLAs to speak on behalf of the constituents and that’s what real grassroots democracy does.”
“One of the things I think the B.C. Conservatives can do that the B.C. Liberals can’t is to stand up on behalf of rural British Columbia.”
Brooks stated that in the last 15 years B.C. has seen a tremendous decline in rural populations, 58,000 people out of rural B.C.
“If our population was not supplemented by immigrants we would be losing them to Alberta, we lost 10,000 people last year to Alberta and a lot of those people are coming from rural areas. And it’s actually hurting our economy.”
Brooks said that while he is proud of Vancouver, more focus needs to be taken out of the city and into the country.