Wilson wants to be new face of federal Liberals 

When your political party is dealing with an advertising scandal involving hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars it can be difficult to talk about its merits, but one budding Liberal candidate was happy to do just that in Whistler last week.

Blair Wilson, who is the youngest of the three candidates vying for the Liberal nomination in the federal riding of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast, was in Whistler campaigning for a greater understanding of technology to help reduce Western alienation.

Wilson also wants more resources to be allocated to the emergency services leading into the 2010 Olympics as well as a Public Safety Officer Compensation Fund for firefighters, which would be based on a U.S. system.

"Western alienation is something that we regard as critical and I think the way to get around it is by utilizing technology," Wilson said.

"Hardly anyone under the age of 25 votes, but most of them know how to use MSN Chat and I don’t see why we can’t embrace that and do things like set up easy-to-access virtual political offices to get more people involved."

The 40-year-old father of two has based his campaign for the Liberal nomination around the notion of being the "enthusiastic, fresh faced" alternative to John Moonen and Phil Boname who are both seasoned politicians.

Wilson, who looks remarkably like former U.S. President Bill Clinton, has spent most of his working life as a restaurateur and is now the part owner of Mahoney’s Sports Bar and Grill in Vancouver.

He was educated at the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia where he completed degrees in commerce and political science. He is also a chartered accountant.

Moonen, who intends to visit Whistler this week, is a senior lobbyist, communicator and public affairs professional.

During the past 20 years Moonen has worked as a lobbyist for the Pattison Group, as a lawyer and senior civil servant in the government of B.C., an account executive for a Vancouver-based advertising agency and a partner in a public affairs consultancy.

Boname has been the Liberal candidate in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast in two previous elections.

In the last election Boname lost to Alliance MP John Reynolds by less than 3,000 votes.

Meantime, Stephen Harper appears certain to become the first elected leader of the new Conservative Party when the party chooses a leader on March 20.

Tony Clement and Belinda Stronach have provided opposition but as the former Alliance leader, Harper has consistently reminded people that he was partly responsible for uniting the Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties and this tactic seems to have worked.

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