SURREY — Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone was in Surrey this morning to officially launch his bid for BC Liberal leadership.
Surrounded by family and fellow Liberals at Holland Park, Stone announced the focus of his leadership campaign.
Stone said during the last election, the party heard that many in the province felt the BC Liberals didn’t speak for them and “frankly, in some cases, they were right.”
The party, he said, needs “more youth, more women, more people reflective of the rich diversity” in B.C.
Stone vowed to throw the “doors and the windows right open” within the party and promised “regular townhall meetings around the province” if successful in his bid.
Questioned by reporters about how he’d change things within the party, considering he was a senior politician at the table in the last majority government, Stone said he was proud of much of the party’s record.
“I’m proud of the fact we balanced five budgets, I’m proud of the fact that we’ve kept taxes down…. but when you’re in government and making decisions, there are always some tough lessons along the way as well. I think a sign of true leadership is recognizing those lessons and learning from those lessons.”
Asked why he chose Surrey to launch his campaign, considering former mayor Dianne Watts is also seeking BC Liberal leadership, Stone said the city is “dynamic, innovating, growing.”
Stone said the fast-growing community is an example of what can be achieved when governments of all levels work together.
“This is what the future of British Columbia looks like,” he told reporters.
Stone, who pointed out he’s the youngest candidate in the leadership race, promised a “fresh vision for B.C.” through a focus on families, the environment and the tech industry.
Stone said the NDP’s $10-a-day childcare plan is a “fantasy” and instead offered a “smart, thoughtful approach” including a major increase to child care spots and more early childhood educators.
He also vowed to work for better supports for those with mental health issues, and seniors.
“British Columbia families need us to work together to find solutions to make their lives better and so that all families realize the benefits of our strong economy both in urban and rural areas,” said Stone. “Tackling affordability, building better connected communities, including rapid transit, are all central to the dialogue I’m looking forward to having with British Columbians over the coming months.”
Stone also said if elected to the BC Liberal leadership, the party “will not accept taxpayer subsidies.”
Former Surrey MLA Peter Fassbender was at Holland Park Tuesday in support of Stone’s campaign, as was former health minister Terry Lake, who now serves as vice president of Hydropothecary Medical Marijuana.