B.C. Liberal leadership hopeful Mike Bernier says party needs to listen to voters
Peace River South MLA joins growing field of contenders to succeed Christy Clark
Northern B.C. MLA Mike Bernier has announced he will seek the leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party.
On Monday, Bernier announced his intentions at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver, where Andrew Wilkinson declared just hours earlier.
Following an introduction by fellow MLA Dan Davies, the former minister of education extolled the Liberals' fiscal record and numerous balanced budgets but also acknowledged they had to do a better job helping vulnerable British Columbians.
"Connecting, innovating and collaborating all require one thing, and I think that's one thing our party forgot going into the last election, and that's listening," the MLA for Peace River South said.
"That's what we have to do if we want to go head-to-head with the NDP and defeat them in the next election."
He spoke of the benefits of lower taxes, lower fees and innovation to stimulate the economy and generate jobs, especially in the resource sector.
He said one of the party's challenges going forward will be to connect strong economic performance with social benefits in the minds of many British Columbians.
He also shared his proudest accomplishment in provincial politics: making sexual orientation and gender identity protected by provincial anti-bullying policy. He says this was personally important to him as his daughter is gay.
In addition to Bernier and Wilkinson, higher-profile candidates for the Liberal leadership include Surrey MP Dianne Watts and former Vancouver mayor and current MLA Sam Sullivan.