Former premier Christy Clark on a new path and new leader for the BC Liberals
Christy Clark isn't surprised BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson announced he's stepping down just two days after disastrous election for his party.
"If I was in his shoes, I would say, 'Well, why would you want to stick around?' Really, what for?" said the former premier, who stepped down herself after the Liberals won the most seats in the 2017 election, but failed to form government.
She says the upcoming leadership race is crucial for the Liberals.
"I think the brand in modern times is really about the leader now," she said.
Clark believes whoever takes the helm of the party next needs to have a message beyond the Liberals' traditional economic one.
"Issues like racial justice, the wage gap for women, access to child care, climate change. Those are things the BC Liberals, we used to all about a lot more than we do now," said Clark. "I think it's about the sense that people look at a leader and say they authentically care about the issues that concern them."
Former mayor Sam Sullivan, who lost Vancouver-False Creek to the NDP's Brenda Bailey, says the party's greatest weakness was not having an agenda that appealed to voters in big cities.
"We clearly didn't connect with urban people. I think we need to really look hard at our party and how we present ourselves," said Sullivan.
As for who will step forward to enter the Liberal leadership race, the party's longest serving MLA Mike De Jong, who was re-elected in Abbotsford West on Saturday, says count him out.
"I was in two of these things and my services were politely declined. I do not need to be told a third time!" De Jong joked. "No, I will no be a candidate for the leadership."
Neither will former conservative MP and Surrey mayor Dianne Watts, who came second to Wilkinson when he won the liberal nomination in February 2018.
Clark hopes the leadership race attracts people who aren't currently Liberal MLAs.
"I think parties should always look for newcomers outside their ranks to join the race," she said. When she was chosen as Liberal leader, she didn't have a seat in the legislature.
With few remaining Liberal MLAs and a desire for a fresh start, that scenario could be repeated.