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Kevin Falcon officially joins the BC Liberal leadership race

Click to play video: 'Kevin Falcon launches bid for BC Liberal leadership' Kevin Falcon launches bid for BC Liberal leadership
Former B.C. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon announced his leadership bid for the BC Liberal Party Monday, hoping to make a comeback after a decade away from politics. The father of two represented Surrey-Cloverdale in the Legislature and left politics after losing to former premier Christy Clark in a closely fought leadership battle in 2011. Richard Zussman reports. – May 17, 2021

It has been B.C. politics’ worst kept secret: Kevin Falcon wants to be the next leader of the BC Liberal Party.

After nearly a decade out of public life, the 58-year-old is officially looking to replace Andrew Wilkinson as the party’s chief.

Click to play video: 'Former MLA Kevin Falcon on his main inspiration for returning to B.C. politics' Former MLA Kevin Falcon on his main inspiration for returning to B.C. politics
Former MLA Kevin Falcon on his main inspiration for returning to B.C. politics – May 17, 2021

“I am not going to focus on .. who the frontrunner is, you guys can do that,” Falcon said in an exclusive interview with Global BC ahead of his public announcement Monday evening. “I am going to focus on ideas. I think ideas matter — big ideas matter.”

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Falcon was one of the most prominent faces of the Gordon Campbell era, serving as transportation minister and health minister after first being elected in 2001.

Click to play video: 'Shirley Bond lays out her priorities as interim leader of the BC Liberal Party' Shirley Bond lays out her priorities as interim leader of the BC Liberal Party
Shirley Bond lays out her priorities as interim leader of the BC Liberal Party – Nov 24, 2020

 

After Campbell quit, Falcon was the favourite to replace him, but lost on the final ballot to Christy Clark.

He then served as deputy premier and finance minister in Clark’s cabinet, then left politics in 2012 and returned to the real estate investment industry as executive vice-president for Anthem Capital.

The main inspiration for his return to politics are his two daughters, Josephine, 11, and Rose, 8.

“What has changed are three things: I’m married and I have two daughters. I think that change in perspective changes me when I think about the climate and having a government focused on outcomes. It’s not about how much you spend, it’s about outcomes,” Falcon said.

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Click to play video: 'Keith Baldrey on the future of the BC Liberal Party' Keith Baldrey on the future of the BC Liberal Party
Keith Baldrey on the future of the BC Liberal Party – Oct 26, 2020

Former Surrey mayor and Conservative MP Dianne Watts is supporting his bid. She ran for the leadership position in 2018, but lost to Wilkinson.

Falcon joins three others who have declared themselves as candidates for party leader: MLAs Ellis Ross and Michael Lee and businessman Gavin Dew.

BC Liberal health critic Renee Merrifield, former BC Chamber of Commerce CEO Val Litwin and social media commentator Aaron Gunn are still considering a bid.

Wilkinson won the leadership in 2018, but resigned after guiding the party to its worst performance since 1991.

In the 2020 election, the Liberals lost 12 of their 22 seats in Metro Vancouver, including in Richmond, Langley, Surrey and Abbotsford. Overall, they won just 29 seats across the province.

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Read more: How the Liberals roasted themselves in B.C.’s snap election campaign

 

Click to play video: 'B.C. election 2020: BC Liberal Alexa Loo on new team leader for the party' B.C. election 2020: BC Liberal Alexa Loo on new team leader for the party
B.C. election 2020: BC Liberal Alexa Loo on new team leader for the party – Oct 25, 2020

“I have deep roots, and having a leader from Metro Vancouver is going to be crucial this time. And I know the areas. Especially Surrey, which is going to be a battleground,” Falcon said.

The BC NDP has already come out on the attack, claiming Falcon would bring back tax breaks for the richest British Columbians. In a news release, the party also mentioned increased MSP premiums, increased BC Hydro and ICBC rates, and tolls on the Port Mann Bridge.

Falcon was instrumental in getting the Port Mann and the Canada Line/SkyTrain extension built.

Read more: BC Liberals set choose new leader on Feb. 5, 2022

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He said his campaign will be driven by policies on environmental leadership and affordable daycare.

“Did we do everything right? Of course we did not, no government does. But I think what is important is to have the humility to acknowledge when things don’t go well and do things better,” he said.

“When people are really talking about you a lot, it means they are a little afraid.”

The Liberals are set to elect their next leader on Feb. 5, 2022.

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