Former Liberal cabinet minister Kevin Falcon, who left politics to run a private business, is seeking to become the next leader of the B.C. Liberal Party and declared his intention to run during a virtual campaign announcement on Monday night.
He becomes the third candidate to announce a run for the party's leadership.
Falcon was first elected as an MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale in 2001 and played a key role in the Liberal cabinet under then Premier Gordon Campbell. He ran for the leadership of the party in 2011 but lost by a narrow margin to Christy Clark, who became premier.
During this campaign launch, Falcon emphasized that he wants to bring changes, including a new name for the party and more diversity.
"I believe that our renewal demands a new party name, one that will be decided upon in consultation with our own membership, and I want to be very, very clear about something. B.C. Liberal Party, under my leadership, will welcome people of every background into our big tent," said Falcon.
He said British Columbians of all races, sexualities, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds will be embraced as party members.
Dianne Watts, former mayor of Surrey, delivered an introduction to kick off the event.
Falcon was B.C.'s finance minister until he resigned in 2012, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and young children.
After his resignation, Falcon became vice-president of real estate development company and private equity firm Anthem Capital.
On Monday, Falcon laid out what he believes the party needs to do to become successful again, saying the Liberals have lost voters from the centre to the NDP while voters from the right side of the spectrum have stayed home.
"If we want to be relevant, we need to course-correct and do so fast, and I believe that we need a return to principled politics, not transactional, short-term decision making, but principles-driven, long-term solutions that clearly reflect who we are and what we believe in," Falcon said.
Liberal leadership contest set for February 2022
The deadline for candidates to declare they are running is Nov. 30.
Former leader Andrew Wilkinson faced criticism from within his own party after the Liberals' defeat in the provincial election in October 2020 which resulted in the party's lowest seat count since 1991.
The first candidate to declare a run for leadership was Skeena MLA Ellis Ross.
Long-time B.C. Liberal and entrepreuner Gavin Dew has also announced that he will be competing for the party's top job, and promises a genuine renewal with the party, saying he plans to bring in new, younger and diverse voters.
Liberal MLA for Vancouver-Langara and Transportation critic Michael Lee tweeted out a video with the caption "Ready to run" hinting that he may soon be declaring his intention to run in the leadership race as well.
The B.C. Liberal Party has said the winner of the leadership race will be announced on Feb. 5, 2022 after three days of voting by party members.
Party membership is open to B.C. residents aged 14 and up. People can sign up or renew their membership by Dec. 29 in order to vote in the leadership contest.