Okanagan MLAs rally behind new Liberal leader

Christy Clark started her first day as premier-designate Sunday at her son’s hockey game, with plans to appoint a cabinet; move the referendum on the harmonized sales tax up to June; and win a seat in a byelection as soon as possible.

  • Mar. 1, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Christy Clark waves to the crowd after winning the BC Liberal leadership.

Christy Clark started her first day as premier-designate Sunday at her son’s hockey game, with plans to appoint a cabinet; move the referendum on the harmonized sales tax up to June; and win a seat in a byelection as soon as possible.

Clark won the B.C. Liberal leadership vote Saturday, with a narrow victory over Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon after the third round of voting, a weighted-vote in which rural and urban ridings were made equivalent and where members voted for their second and third choices. 

Clark led the pack throughout the process. The point totals after the first round were 789 for Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong; 2,091 for Shuswap MLA Abbott; 2,411 for Falcon; and 3,209 for Clark. After the second round Clark had 3,575 points, followed by Falcon with 2,564 and Abbott with 2,364.

On the third and final ballot, Clark received 4,420 votes for 52 per cent of the party’s support and Falcon had 4,080. According to party president Mickey Patryluk, about 62 per cent of the nearly 90,000 BC Liberal members voted.

After the final vote result was revealed at the Vancouver Convention Centre, Clark was joined on stage by rival candidates and most of the BC Liberal caucus. 

Clark said she looks forward to building on the legacy of Premier Gordon Campbell before stressing her campaign theme of families.

“My commitment to putting families first starts with job creation and fighting poverty,” Clark said. “These are going to be the top priorities for our government.”

Penticton MLA and Speaker of the House Bill Barisoff said he thinks Clark will do a good job.

“Premier (Gordon) Campbell did a great job for the province, particularly here for Penticton and for the South Okanagan, and I think that Christy will do a great job for the province also,” said Barisoff. “I’m sure she’ll put a different stamp on things and maybe move things in a different direction, but certainly I am hoping and I’m expecting that she will keep moving the province forward.

“She has a big job ahead of her. We have to make sure that she unites the caucus and also make sure that the free enterprise side of the equation stays together.”

Boundary Similkameen MLA John Slater said he thought the leadership campaign was a valuable exercise for his party.

“I think the process was great,” said Slater. “Everybody got their chance to vote, whether you were in a rural riding or downtown Vancouver.”

Slater said he does not know Clark well but that he has heard good things.

“Everybody that I have talked to who has worked with her in cabinet or in government certainly thinks she has the abilities to run the province,” he said. “We have got to get back together as a coalition and I think Christy can do it. I think the Liberal party itself absolutely has to come together and make sure that we are running the province properly.”

Slater said the BC Liberals will hold their first caucus meeting with Clark as leader today and that he hopes to be back at the legislature in the next  two or three weeks.

Interim NDP leader Dawn Black issued a statement congratulating Clark before urging her to call the legislature back into session immediately.

“Specifically, she needs to table legislation moving up the HST referendum, establish an independent third party review of the $6 million payoff to the BC Liberal insiders in the BC Rail corruption trial, and table a new budget that invests in people, creates jobs, and helps B.C. families make ends meet,” Black said.

With files from Tom Fletcher.

city@pentictonwesternnews.com

Just Posted

Supporting survivors of breast cancer

Survivorship shows there is life beyond cancer

Foreigner feeling like the first time after 40

Foreigner doesn’t miss a beat after 40 years

Octoberfest is the toast of the town

Eighth annual night of fun, music and brews

Vees lose 4-2 to Wenatchee

The Vees face the Wild again Wednesday, on home ice

Search continues after human remains located

The search of the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road enters its fourth day

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

A golden opportunity

Orthodontist offers sweet deal for the pocketbook

Who is Curtis Sagmoen?

The Observer reveals what we know about the man attached to the Silver Creek property where human remains were found

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Reel Reviews: Nothing left to lose

We say, “Grieving Quan kicks butt”

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Most Read