The BC Liberal party is waiting nearly a full year to select its next party leader.
The party’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee announced Friday the new leader would be selected on Feb. 5, 2022.
The voting process for eligible members will begin on Feb. 3 and end two days later. Someone must be a Liberal member by Dec. 29, 2021 in order to vote for leader.
Voting will be conducted using a one member, one vote preferential ballot system.
Each of the province’s ridings will be given equal weight in balloting and the first candidate to achieve more than 50 per cent of available points will be declared declared the winner.
“I think we are going to have a broad and diverse set of candidates,” interim leader Shirley Bond said.
“I am looking forward to seeing who will step up. It is a big decision to make. I am confident in the months ahead we will see candidates emerge that will lay out their vision for our province. We know we have our work cut out for us.”
Candidates will be required to pay an entry fee of up to $45,000, plus a $20,000 deposit, in order to compete.
Last week Andrew Wilkinson formally stepped down as party leader. Bond has been serving an interim leader since last year.
Former finance minister Kevin Falcon has emerged as the early front runner, but has not formally announced whether he will run again.
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross has declared his plan to run for leader.
“If B.C. is looking for a different path, a different attitude, a different mentality then maybe I should throw my hat in the ring,” Ross said when announcing his candidacy.
“It’s out there now. So I will be putting my name in.”
BC Liberal MLAs Mike Morris, Tom Shypitka, Renee Merrifield and Michael Lee are still considering whether they will. Gavin Dew and Aaron Gunn are also considering entering the leadership race.
Previous leadership candidates Todd Stone and Dianne Watts have indicated they are not interested this time.
The leadership committee has also built a party unity clause into the rules.
“All Leadership Contestants must undertake in writing to the Party that they will: pledge their support for the Leadership Contestant who is ultimately elected as the Leader and conduct themselves and their campaigns in a manner so as not to bring the Party into disrepute,” the official rules read.