They didn’t back the winner—at least not with their first choice ballots—but local MLAs Norm Letnick and Steve Thomson say despite their preference for George Abbott, Christy Clark will make a great leader of the Liberal Party and next premier of B.C.
The Kelowna-Lake Country and Kelowna-Mission MLAs, who along with 16 other Liberal caucus members supported Abbott, said they will have no problem working with Clark.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Thomson, currently B.C.’s resource operations and energy minister.
Thomson, whose cabinet duties will continue until Clark is sworn in as premier—likely in a few weeks—and a new cabinet is named, said discussions have already stared about cabinet positions.
He said while he has been spoken to, he was not willing to disclose what was discussed.
But Thomson said it was clear from the leadership vote that the party’s membership wanted to see change.
But he added, the change Clark will bring is something he could rally around and get behind.
“She has some good ideas on her agenda and there are many elements that I like,” he added.
Letnick said he too is looking forward to working with Clark and was happy to see the top finance committee recommendation made in a report put together in preparation for last month’s budget was adopted by Clark in her leadership platform.
Letnick served on the finance committee that put the report together.
The committee called on the government to increase health care spending only at the same rate as growth in the economy.
“It’s right here in her platform,” said Letnick, who was brushing up on Clark’s platform yesterday afternoon prior to attending today’s Liberal caucus meeting in Victoria.
It will be the first gathering of the Liberal MLAs since Clark was elected Liberal leader on Saturday.
Letnick said despite the fact Abbott was knocked off the ballot after the second round of voting, he was happy with how the campaign went.
“At the start, I said we had six great candidates and then when Moira (Stillwell) and Ed (Mayne) dropped out, I said we had four great candidates in George (Abbott), Christy (Clark), Kevin (Falcon) and Mike (de Jong),” he said.
Both he and Thomson noted that the campaign was, for the most part, a civil and respectful affair.
While the final tally put Clark just ahead of Falcon—52 per cent to 48 per cent— both local MLAs downplayed any split in the party as a result of the close finish.