B.C. Premier Christy Clark has asked Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to dissolve parliament, marking the start of the provincial 28-day election campaign.
"British Columbia is at a crossroads with two very different choices in front of us in this most important election in modern history," Clark said as she left Government House in Victoria Tuesday morning.
Clark says B.C. voters have a clear choice in the May 14th election.
She says voters can choose between her Liberal party platform, which includes holding the line on taxes and reducing debt, or accept rising taxes, a higher debt and bigger government under the NDP.
Clark had scheduled campaign stops in Victoria-Swan Lake, a riding currently held by the New Democrats, Tuesday afternoon and a rally in Burnaby in the evening.
NDP Leader Adrian Dix, meanwhile, kicked off his election campaign in Clark's Vancouver-Point Grey riding with an event at UBC's Museum of Anthropology.
But it wasn't the start to the B.C. election campaign the NDP hoped for. Kelowna-Mission candidate Dayleen Van Ryswyk resigned after it was revealed she'd posted online comments three years ago criticizing compensation being paid out to First Nations.
Dix has events slated around Vancouver and Burnaby before attending the official campaign launch Tuesday night in downtown Vancouver.
Conservative Leader John Cummins will participate in an all-candidates debate Tuesday evening in his Langley riding.
'One vote at a time'
While the official start to the campaign has just begun, party volunteers were already out in full force Tuesday morning working to pick up voter support for the May 14 vote.
A handful of B.C. Liberal volunteers armed with campaign signs stood at the foot of Vancouver's Granville Bridge waving to motorists during the morning commute. It was just one of many political teams across the province.
Liberal Margaret MacDiarmid, hoping to get re-elected in Vancouver–Fairview, acknowledges the campaign will be hard work.
"In my riding, it's a swing riding, it's one vote at a time," she said.
"You meet as many people as you can and you talk to them one at a time about what it's like for them and how you can help and why the job is important and what's important to them."
MacDiarmid, who is also a doctor, has advice for managing the demanding campaign tour.
"Try to get a decent amount of sleep and eat properly," she said. "It's hard in a campaign. It is hard."
Clark rolled out her campaign bus yesterday and also unveiled the Liberal party platform, which focuses strongly on a balanced budget, debt reduction and job creation.
But some analysts say the New Democrats under Dix have occupied the same economic territory, so the real battle will be between the styles of the two leaders.
Meanwhile, the Green Party of B.C. is running candidates in 50 of B.C.'s 85 ridings this election so far, while the Conservatives are running 46 candidates. The nomination deadline is April 26.
British Columbians head to the polls on May 14.