Former Liberal Gordon Wilson returns to party, backs Clark

Former B.C. Liberal Gordon Wilson, who successfully led the Liberals to gain 17 provincial seats in 1991, is returning to the party after two decades.

Wilson urges British Columbians who once voted Liberal to 'come home' in video plea

Former Liberal leader supports Christy Clark's re-election bid 3:03

Former B.C. Liberal Gordon Wilson, who successfully led the Liberals to gain 17 provincial seats in 1991, is returning to the party after two decades.

In a video posted to YouTube Sunday night, Wilson endorsed the B.C. Liberals in an effort to boost the party's political fortunes.

Wilson urges voters to join him, reminding them about the NDP government's track record during the 1990s.

"After 20 years, I believe that all of us who were so excited at the B.C. Liberal breakthrough in 1991, but who left the party in 1993, and those of us who don't feel comfortable at the prospect of an Adrian Dix government, [should] come home."

Dix says Wilson's endorsement doesn't come as a surprise since he adamantly defended Clark when her party's ethnic vote outreach strategy was leaked.

"He's been supporting Premier Clark. He is now. Good for him," Dix said. "But the good news for us in Powell River, Sunshine Coast where Mr. Wilson lives — I think we're doing quite well."

Political scientist Hamish Telford with the University of the Fraser Valley says Wilson's past, which saw him leave the Liberals to form his own party and then jump to the NDP, may weaken the power of his endorsement.

But Telford adds the address could give the Liberals a small boost at the polls, primarily with older voters who remember Wilson and the 1990s — people in their 40s and 50s.

"That's important because when you look at the opinion polls. The Liberals poll much better with voters over 50. Over 55, there is very much a dead heat between the Liberals and the NDP," he says

Telford says the older demographic is especially important to reach, since older voters are more likely than younger votes to cast their ballots.

'The Liberals misled people'

Meanwhile, Dix — who has insisted for weeks he wouldn't run a negative campaign — is turning up the heat with just eight days to go before election day.

Dix is taking aim at the way the Liberal government implemented the controversial harmonized sales tax.

"I think we've learned the lessons from the last election and the Liberals haven't," he said.

"One of the lessons from the last election that surely everybody learned was when the Liberals misled people on the HST that undermined public confidence in government in general and hurt the economy — every business going in and coming out — so I've said what I'm going to do and said how I'm gong to pay for it."

Dix says he's been clear about his plan to raise the tax rate on big business and re-establish a minimum tax on banks.

He says the Liberals have spent millions of dollars on personal attack ads against him, but that's not the kind of campaign he's running.

Clark and Dix won't cross paths on the campaign trail Monday, but they'll both be on the Lower Mainland searching for votes.

Clark has two stops in the morning, in Coquitlam and Delta, before she flies to northern B.C.

Dix has events slated in Surrey, Langley, Chilliwack and Abbotsford.

B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins participates in a radio debate for candidates in his Langley riding.

B.C. Green Party Leader Jane Sterk joins students on the lawn of the legislature for an afternoon rally.

With files from the CBC's Meera Bains