So much for just settling into the role of opposition in the legislature.
The B.C. Liberals’ leadership race is underway, and it’s shaping up as one that’s going to be front-of-mind for a lot of British Columbians in the months to come.
After the resignation of party leader and ex-premier Christy Clark this summer, there was some acknowledgement from the Liberals that they would be putting their energies into their new duties as official opposition and hold the new NDP minority government to account.
But renewal within the Liberal ranks is happening now. Leadership hopefuls are declaring, and it appears it could be a crowded race. With former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts announcing her intentions to run for party leadership, she immediately becomes one of the frontrunners. The Conservative member of Parliament for South Surrey-White Rock will step down from that role and her high profile will ensure a little extra attention on the Liberal leadership race.
Former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan, Vancouver-False Creek MLA, was one of the first to enter the Liberal leadership race, and Terrace businesswoman Lucy Sager offered an outsider’s candidacy. Former cabinet ministers Andrew Wilkinson, Mike Bernier and Mike de Jong have all put their names forward this week and another past minister, Todd Stone will likely try for leadership, too With those kinds of candidates, there’s a lot of name recognition to help the party create interest in its campaign and momentum for the next election.
It’s clear that B.C. Liberal leader is a coveted position. The party, after all, won the most seats in the last election and only fell short of another mandate by the slimmest of margins. It might not take much for the Liberals to reverse their fortunes, and a leadership race that makes the right kind of impact could be enough of a nudge.
A B.C. Liberal party with leadership and direction is in the interest of all British Columbians – it takes strong government and strong opposition for us to get the most out of our political system.
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