Past mistakes, soul-searching feature in first B.C. Liberal debate

By The Canadian Press
October 15, 2017 - 4:21pm

SURREY, B.C. — Six of the candidates running to lead British Columbia’s Liberals laid out their ideas to rebuild the party today in a debate that included a fair amount of soul-searching on what went wrong in last spring’s election.

The field of candidates includes three members of Christy Clark’s cabinet going into the election and former transportation minister Todd Stone.

He said while the Liberals did a good job of balancing five consecutive budgets, they must do a better at connecting with women and young voters.

Dianne Watts, who quit her House of Commons seat to seek the leadership, accused the party of falling out of touch with voters in the Vancouver area on issues like transportation, costing the Liberals seats in the legislature as they were seen as being out of touch.

Former finance minister Mike de Jong made no apologies for the Liberal record, saying he has heard the criticism that he was a “tightwad” but balanced budgets and holding a firm line on taxes helped B.C. lead the country in job creation.

Clark’s administration was defeated in the legislature by the NDP and Greens in a confidence vote last summer, allowing the New Democrats to form a minority government after 16 years in power for the Liberals.

The Liberals will elect a new leader in February.

Shots fired at Vernon home