Todd Stone says Liberals will make for 'robust' opposition to NDP

Former Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone says his party can "highlight the deficiencies" of NDP government but will come together on wildfires.

Liberal MLAs heading to unfamiliar place: the opposition benches. What do they plan for new role?

B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone was in Kamloops Sunday to speak with and listen to residents forced from their homes due to wildfire. Stone says even though his party will hold the new NDP government accountable, they will work together as necessary on the wildfire issue. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The swearing in of John Horgan as British Columbia's 36th premier on Tuesday marked the end of 16 years of B.C. Liberal rule.

And while former premier Christy Clark spoke of collaboration between the parties in the days after the May election, her party switched to an attacking tone on Tuesday.

Former Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone spoke with On The Coast guest Gloria Macarenko about his party's plans for opposition and where they stand on collaborating with the new government.

Listen to the full interview:

Former Forests Minister John Rustad will be advising the NDP government as this state of emergency around wildfires continues. Will you do the same?

I have not been approached by Premier Horgan or anyone else from the NDP government to offer ongoing support in any formal manner and I would probably decline such an offer.

All of my colleagues in the Interior ridings that are ground zero during the wildfire crisis have said we will do whatever we can to assist the government in working our way through this crisis.

Most importantly, ensuring the free flow of information so we can best support our constituents and ensure there is a direct channel of communication to the premier's office or the deputy minister for forests' office so that our MLAs can raise issues and ensure they're dealt with expeditiously.

That level of collaboration certainly has been the order of the day over the last couple of weeks and we certainly hope this government would respect that.

We've heard that this state of emergency is no time for partisan politics yet during the swearing in ceremony, your colleague Rich Coleman tweeted criticism of the government.

I think we are all very able to compartmentalize here. The wildfire is an emergency situation so we need to come together, work together as British Columbians to meet the needs of those evacuees and put these fires out.

Quite separate from that is we have a new government in British Columbia and it also means we have a new opposition. It's our job to hold the government to account and I think you're going to see a very robust effort on the part of myself and my 42 other colleagues.

Your party just launched an attack ad on Twitter. It seems to be completely a tone of attack. Where's the collaboration?

We have a job to do in opposition and it's to highlight the deficiencies of this new government.

The wildfire situation is one where we plan to be as collaborative as we possibly can with the current government, and that's something I think we've demonstrated in spades over the last few weeks: keeping the incoming government fully abreast of the challenges on the ground and the strategies to address those challenges.

Our constituents — the thousands of British Columbians represented by Liberal MLAs — in the areas most affected expect nothing less.

But we will be robust in our criticism of this government. We will stand up for jobs, we will stand up to keep taxes down, we will stand up to protect services. Our job as official opposition has begun immediately.

This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast