The race has begun for the leadership of the B.C. Liberal party, and now it’s underway in Nanaimo, too.
Dianne Watts, one of the contenders to be the next leader of the Liberals, is in the city today (Oct. 3). She stopped by Mon Petit Choux this morning for a coffee and a Nanaimo bar, and will be at Piper’s Pub tonight at 6:30 p.m.
She said now that the new B.C. government is in place, she finds that people want to revisit the election campaign and the sequence of events that followed.
“Because when we look at the fundamentals of the economic foundation, we’ve got triple credit rating, we’ve got good job growth, we’ve got all of those things best in Canada, and you lose 11 seats,” she said. “So you’ve got to go back and say, ‘OK, these are really good building blocks, but what happened over here?’”
She said there was a disconnect and that the party wasn’t listening to British Columbians.
“I think the rebuilding will certainly take a bit of time and the trust factor, building that trust back,” she said.
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Watts, resigning as a Conservative MP for South Surrey-White Rock, said she was able to view the last provincial election and its aftermath from an outsider’s perspective.
“Frankly, the throne speech left a lot of people scratching their heads in terms of, ‘why are we putting all of this together in a throne speech when we didn’t run on it in the campaign?’ That’s not to say that those weren’t some really good components…
“The affordability factor was significant, the transportation factor was significant, the health-care piece was significant. So all of those mechanisms, we should have run on in the campaign.”
She said even after a drawn-out election, the Liberal party is ready to get to work and citizens are ready to start talking about what’s next. It’s a conversation she looks forward to having as she travels around the province.
“When I’m talking to people, I don’t know what political stripe they are and frankly, in those conversations it doesn’t matter, because there’s things that are relevant in everybody’s life,” said Watts. “And that’s how you really engage the general public.”
Other candidates to lead the B.C. Liberals include Mike de Jong, Sam Sullivan, Mike Bernier, Andrew Wilkinson, Michael Lee and Lucy Sager. Todd Stone is also expected to run.