Another of the five candidates for the leadership of the BC Liberals, spent a couple of days in the Kootenays.
Michael Lee, MLA for Vancouver-Langara, declared his intentions to seek the leadership of the party one month ago, and has been out on the on the barbecue circuit this summer getting the word out.
“I’m out here engaging with the members of the BC Liberal Party and others who want to support the BC Liberal Party, coming forward,” Lee said at a meet-and-greet at Idlewild Park in Cranbrook, early Friday morning, July 9. Lee, accompanied by his wife Christina, was hosted by Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka.
“It’s a very important leadership race, to re-energize the party.” Lee said. “I’m running to rebuild the party, to restore trust. Because I believe that many British Columbians have lost trust with our party — they don’t have the kind of faith and confidence in our party any more.
“It’s the same with our membership base. We need to expand it, we need to grow it to gain back government.
This is Lee’s second leadership race. He came in third in 2017, behind Dianne Watts and the eventual winner Andrew Wilkinson.
“That first leadership race, I was a new MLA, I’d been elected for three months, now I’ve been elected for four years,” Lee said. “I learned a lot during that leadership race. It was more like a sprint, this is more like a marathon in terms of the process involved.
“But that leadership race was important in terms of how do we renew the party. I felt the leadership didn’t fully appreciate that we needed to do that. We felt we were only one seat away from government in 2017, after the last election — now we’re down to 28 seats.”
This current process the BC Liberals are going is clearly about a rebuild of the party, Lee said.
“How do we regain our ground, particularly in the Lower Mainland? How do we become a more balanced and inclusive party? How do we modernize the party to ensure that we continue to be a real champion for the resource economy of our province, the strength of this province, moving it forward, to deal with the kind of issues around health care, mental health and addiction, the importance of training, jobs for the new economy.
“These are all important issues that we need to fully engage on and show leadership in the province on.”
Also seeking the leadership of the BC Liberal Party are Kevin Falcon, a former BC Liberal MLA; Val Litwin, former President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce; Ellis Ross, MLA for Skeena; Gavin Dew, a Vancouver business consultant.
The BC Liberal Party leadership election is planned for Feb. 5, 2022.