B.C. Liberal leadership race amps up as two contenders enter field

Liberal MLA Michael Lee and former Liberal cabinet minister Kevin Falcon are set to announce their leadership bids

Kevin Falcon, former MLA and cabinet minister, is expected to seek the leadership of the B.C. Liberals.

The B.C. Liberal leadership race is heating up with Michael Lee teasing his announcement through a six-second video posted to Twitter this morning and former cabinet minister Kevin Falcon set to announce his bid via Facebook live tonight.

Lee, MLA for Vancouver-Langara, posted “ready to run” on Twitter, along with a teaser video of him running through the forest and tying up his laces. The video does not show his face but features his name on screen. His campaign said Lee will not make his formal announcement today but wanted to drum up interest with the video.

Falcon began teasing his campaign launch on Thursday through a post on Twitter that said “Ready?” and another on Saturday that said “Set…” His campaign said he’d make the announcement at 7 p.m. Monday via Facebook.

A year after winning his seat in 2017, Lee ran for the B.C. Liberal leadership race in 2018, finishing third behind Andrew Wilkinson and Dianne Watts.

Watts is said to be a key part of Falcon’s campaign team. Falcon ran for the Liberal leadership race in 2011, but narrowly lost to Christy Clark.

Falcon spent 12 years in the Liberal government which included roles as minister of state for deregulation, transportation minister and health minister under Campbell and finance minister and deputy premier under Clark.

Wilkinson formally resigned in February after he faced criticism from his own party for the party’s disastrous showing in the October election, where the B.C. Liberals lost former strongholds across the Lower Mainland, reducing them to just 28 seats.

The B.C. Liberal leadership convention takes place on Feb. 5. Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, a former chief of the Haisla Nation, and Gavin Dew, founder of the Forum for Millennial Leadership, have also announced they are running.

Liberal MLAs Renee Merrifield, Tom Shypitka, and conservative social media influencer Aaron Gunn have said they’re considering a bid for the leadership but none are ready to officially declare. Liberal MLAs Mike Morris and Mike Bernier have announced they won’t be running.

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