BC Liberal leadership race: candidates, dates and spending details

BC Liberal Party logo. Facebook/BC Liberal Party

The BC Liberal Party is gearing up to choose a new leader after it was relegated to opposition status when the BC NDP formed a minority government with the support of the Greens.

Prior to that, the BC Liberals had been the province’s governing party for 16 years, after first being elected to government in 2001.

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But with former premier Christy Clark announcing her resignation at the end of July, the party is now looking for fresh blood to lead it back into government.

Here’s a primer on the BC Liberal leadership race that will be updated as it unfolds.


Mike de Jong

Former B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong.
Former B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong. Justin Tang/CP

LISTEN: Mike de Jong joins CKNW’s Jon McComb to discuss his candidacy

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Michael Lee

BC Liberal MLA Michael Lee. Michael Lee/Facebook
  • MLA for Vancouver-Langara (elected in 2017)
  • Parliamentary secretary for housing affordability (2017)
  • Former business lawyer and partner with Lawson Lundell LLP
LISTEN: Michael Lee joins CKNW’s Jon McComb to talk about his run for the party leadership


Todd Stone

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BC Liberal MLA Todd Stone. Todd Stone/Facebook
  • MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson (2013 to present)
  • B.C. minister of transportation and infrastructure (2013 to 2017)
  • Former vice-chair, Thompson Rivers University board of governors

LISTEN: Todd Stone joins Liberal leadership race

Sam Sullivan

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BC Liberal MLA Sam Sullivan. Darryl Dyck/CP
  • MLA for Vancouver-False Creek (2013 to present)
  • Mayor of Vancouver (2005 to 2008)
  • Vancouver city councillor (1993 to 2002)
LISTEN: Sam Sullivan joins CKNW’s Jon McComb to talk about his candidacy

Dianne Watts

Conservative MP Dianne Watts asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Justin Tang/CP
  • MP for South Surrey-White Rock (2015 to present)
  • Mayor of Surrey (2005 to 2014)
  • Surrey city councillor (1995 to 2005)

LISTEN: Dianne Watts joins CKNW’s Jon McComb to discuss her run for BC Liberal leader

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Andrew Wilkinson

BC Liberal MLA Andrew Wilkinson. Paul Wright/CP
  • MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena (2013 to present)
  • B.C. minister of advanced education (2014 to 2017)
  • B.C. minister of technology, innovation and citizens’ services (2013 to 2014)

LISTEN: Andrew Wilkinson joins CKNW’s Jon McComb to talk about his leadership bid

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Leadership race details

When do BC Liberal members vote on a new leader?

  • Feb. 1, Feb. 2, and Feb. 3

How do they vote?

  • Online, with a telephone option

How does the voting process work?

  • Members will choose the new leader through a one-member, one-vote preferential ballot in which they rank as many or as few candidates as they’d like; with multiple candidates, there may be multiple counts.
  • Each electoral district is accorded 100 points.
  • Points are then allocated to contestants based on the ratio of a candidate’s number of first-ranked votes to the total number of votes for a particular electoral district.
  • The total points that have been accorded to leadership contestants are then added together to create a “province-wide count.”
  • The second count will see the leadership candidate with the least number of points on the province-wide count eliminated; that candidate’s first-ranked votes are then distributed throughout the electoral districts according to members’ second-ranked choices. The same process follows for future counts.
  • Any leadership contestant who is the first to receive more than 50 per cent of the points on a province-wide counted is elected leader.

How much does it cost to run for the leadership?

  • Nomination application fee: $500
  • Exploratory entry fee: $9,500 (this is refundable if the party’s Rules Committee does not approve a candidate to run for the leadership)
  • Candidate participation fee: $15,000
  • Final candidacy fee: $25,000
  • Compliance deposit: $10,000 (this is refundable unless the candidate has been fined)
  • The nomination application fee, the exploratory entry fee and the final candidacy fee are all payable to the party on or before Dec. 29.

How much money can leadership candidates spend on their campaigns?

  • $600,000
  • Candidates are not allowed to use public resources, including travel budgets associated with their statuses as members of the Legislative Assembly.
  • Leadership candidates must report their campaign contributions on the fifth day of every month up to Jan. 5; on these dates, they have to pay 20 per cent of their contributions to the party.
  • At the end of their campaigns, leadership candidates must give the party any surplus between contributions received and the expenses they incurred.

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