Terrace’s Lucy Sager has announced her intention of running for the B.C. Liberal leadership.

B.C. business owner vies for Liberal leadership

Lucy Sager is a business development expert out of Terrace

It will be a battle of David and Goliaths—yes, plural.

A Terrace business owner with no experience in elected office has announced her plan to enter the B.C. Liberal leadership race.

Lucy Sager is a business development expert with a background in maximizing local opportunities from major projects.

The 38-year old says she identifies with the real-world struggles of today’s British Columbian and aims to bring back the “vision and values” of the party with a diverse economy and wise fiscal management.

“We kind of joke around that I have no political baggage,” Sager says.

“[But] when you start looking at my practical experience in small business and major projects, with my MBA and my time in oil, gas, construction—this is not theory to me. It’s in my background and I’ve actually done it. We need some fresh blood and new ideas in the party.”

Sager will be up against some political heavyweights in the leadership race, including confirmed contender Sam Sullivan, the former Vancouver mayor now MLA of Vancouver-False Creek, and the expected confirmation of former Surrey Mayor, now a conservative MP, Dianne Watts.

Several other high profile politicans are also expected to enter the race in the coming days.

READ MORE: Surrey MP rumoured to announce bid for Liberal leadership

READ MORE: Sam Sullivan first to announce bid to become BC Liberal leader

Sager has never held a seat in the Legislative Assembly but has worked behind the scenes with the Liberal party for several years, as the campaign manager for Liberal Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, and as the riding president.

She has no plans to unseat Ross, but will look for a “winnable” riding if elected leader.

In the meantime, she hopes to use her political inexperience to her campaign’s advantage.

“Five years ago I was bussing tables working my way through grad school, and now I’m running for the leadership,” Sager said. “I will totally acknowledge this is a David and Goliath story.

But there are people all across British Columbia who have never been engaged with politics but are passionate about leadership. They’re looking at their small business and saying, ‘if we don’t come to terms with how to reconcile small-business tax, I’m shutting the doors.”

The seat for the Liberal leadership opened up following the resignation of former Premier Christy Clark, brought on by the party’s narrow defeat in May’s provincial election by a coalition of the NDP and Green parties.

Sager says the loss was due to what average British Columbians see as an inaccessible party. What’s missing, she says, is a bridge between the interests of northern and southern sectors of the province.

“We forgot how to engage people where they were. We have to get back to saying ‘we represent everybody.’

Jobs and economy are extremely important, but we still have to be empathetic and compassionate to people in Vancouver who are working three jobs to pay the rent…we need to connect the north and the south, and help them see that these major projects we’re working on up here are so you can afford your life down there.

“If we don’t have major projects going, where are we going to find the resources to share? That’s the conversation I’d like to have with the NDP.”

Sager grew up in Terrace where her parents worked extensively with First Nations communities on and off reserve; her family, she says, was adopted by Kitsumkalum Chief John Robert.

Sager later attended Northwest Community College before opening a retail store, Out Spoke’N Bike and Sport. A downturn in the local economy, spurred by the 2010 closure of West Fraser’s Eurocan paper mill in Kitimat, pushed her to close her doors and head back to school.

She challenged a masters in business degree at UNBC Prince George, which dovetailed into a career with major projects coming into the region.

In 2014, Sager formed Spirit Strategies in Terrace, a company devoted to local business and project development through negotiation, facilitation and community engagement.

In her run for the Liberal leadership, Sager says her qualifications are rooted in some of the area’s largest investments in construction, Canadian oil and gas, mining and forestry. At the same time, her focus on families and community-level engagement is a micro-level approach to governance she feels is expandable to the provincial whole.

“There are a lot of members in caucus that should maybe have more practical experience to better understand where British Columbians are at,” Sager says. “What are the struggles and stresses of small business taxes? What does it look like when LNG projects don’t’ happen? What are the alternatives?”

Whether Sager is in the race to win, or to make a statement is a question she has heard often since announcing her intention to run. But with signatures on her nomination papers from many long-standing politicians, she says, “everyone wants us to be there. We’re taking this very seriously.”

“What this does is it brings new energy to the party. Because it engages people who have never been engaged before…maybe we won’t win, but we’ll try to win. And everyone else is taking us serious too.”

The deadline to enter the leadership race is Dec. 29, but all candidates must pay a $10,000 entry fee by Sept. 25 to attend the first leadership forum Sept. 29 in Vancouver.

Just Posted

Okanagan chefs battle at Great Kitchen Party

Chef Kai Koroll of 50th Parallel Estate Winery won the event Friday night

Pre-season booming at Big White with Hallmark movie production

Big White is the main drop for Hallmark’s film Alice in Winterland

Kelowna man sentenced to 18 months probation for filming co-workers in washroom

The man was conditionally discharged following a sentencing hearing on Friday

Woman wanted on Canada-wide warrant possibly in Kelowna area

Brittany McLellan is unlawfully at large and wanted for breach of federal parole

Interior Health issues warning about opioid-laced stimulants causing recent overdoses

Interior Health is urging residents using or considering using drugs to reconsider… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Pedestrian struck and killed in Kamloops accident

Kamloops RCMP responded to the incident at 5:30 p.m. Friday night

Most Read