BC Liberals set rules
for February 2018 leadership race

The BC Liberals are looking for a new leader to replace Christy Clark. Cost to applicants: $50,000.

The BC Liberal Party will have a new leader effective February 3, 2018.

Liberal MLA Linda Larson

The party this week announced rules for its leadership race that includes “a vote for every member of the party, equal weight given to every riding in the province, and a preferential ballot that will enable members to rank their choices for leader.”

Voting will take place online, with a telephone option, between Thursday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 3.

The party had originally determined to wrap up the process on Sunday, Feb. 4.  However, members quickly pointed out that Sunday was also Super Bowl Sunday.

“(W)e did hear from many of you that the overlap between our Leadership Convention and the NFL Super Bowl should be avoided,” said party president Sharon White in an email to members.

“In keeping with our BC Liberal values of respecting and responding to grassroots feedback, the Party Executive has agreed to adjust the dates of the Leadership Vote . . .”


The party is currently in the process of selecting a vendor to provide secure voting services, and an auditor to provide impartial oversight.

It also announced that former BC attorney general Geoff Plant will serve as Chief Returning Officer, overseeing voting arrangements and compliance with the rules.

“The Leadership 2018 rules are rooted in best practices from our previous leadership race and other contests across Canada, and informed by feedback from our grassroots members throughout the province,” said Ms. White.

“We’re all looking forward to a vibrant contest of ideas that will engage British Columbians and select a leader ready to stand up for BC and decisively win the next election.”

The cost to enter the race is $50,000 — including an exploratory entry fee of $10,000 and later fees of $15,000 in advance of the first leadership debate and a final candidacy fee of $25,000.

In addition, each contestant will provide a refundable compliance deposit of $10,000, which must be replenished following any deduction for a violation of the rules.

The party says its entry fee is in line with others paid in other recent leadership events held across Canada.

The total entry cost of $50,000 compares to $30,000 for the 2017 Alberta PC leadership race, $75,000 for the 2015 Ontario PC leadership race, and $50,000 for the 2013 Ontario Liberal Party contest.

Each contestant will be prohibited from spending more than $600,000, not including entry fees or administrative fees payable to the party.

The leadership event follows the departure of former premier Christy Clark, who resigned her position — and her seat in the provincial legislature — in late July.

The Boundary-Similkameen riding, in which Osoyoos is located, is represented by Liberal Linda Larson.