BC Liberal leadership hopeful promises to 'restore trust'


Kelowna Now - A new BC Liberal Party Leader will not be chosen until February, but the race is on.

While potential candidates, such as Renee Merrifield wait in the wings, Michael Lee is touring the province, building support.

We spoke to the Vancouver-Langara MLA after a meet and greet at Kelowna's Landmark District.

Lee is one of five candidates officially seeking the job.

Former Liberal cabinet minister Kevin Falcon, business consultant Gavin Dew, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, and former BC Chamber of Commerce CEO Val Litwin round out the field.

Merrifield is expected to join the race, but has yet to announce her intentions.

The BC Liberal Party was gutted in the 2020 election taking just 28 seats.

It's the fewest since the 1991 election for the party.

Lee said the party needs to restore trust.

"I'm running to rebuild the party," he said in an interview with KelownaNow. "The party's focus, in the eyes of voters has become too narrow."

Lee hints at a shift toward the centre of the political spectrum, and he's quick to bring up the need to pay attention to the issue of climate change.

"We need to lower our carbon footprint," he said.

It's the kind of talk that might appeal to those who feel that the environment is only a priority for the NDP and Greens.

"We need to broaden our appeal and expand our base. I believe I am the person who can do that to make our party more balanced and inclusive," he said.

Lee stresses integrity, suggesting it hasn't always been there for the party.

"Over the course of time, so many British Columbians and members have lost trust in our party," he said, "in terms of our leadership and what we stand for. We have to regain that."

Lee is a business lawyer, who worked as a special assistant to former federal Conservative leader Kim Campbell when she was Minister of Justice and National Defence.

He visited Kelowna after a whirlwind Kootenay trip that saw him visit 15 communities in five days. He recently made stops in five communities on Vancouver Island.

Next up, he was off to Vernon and then to the Cariboo.

"We'll see how far we can get," said Lee.

The leadership vote is planned for February 5th of next year.


About Michael

Michael Lee is a BC Liberal Party leadership candidate and the MLA for Vancouver-Langara. Before entering politics, Michael was a prominent business lawyer in Vancouver, where he worked for 20 years with forestry, mining, energy, and technology companies across BC. He also has a strong record of community service for over 30 years, including with social service, educational, and children and youth organizations. A son of immigrants, Michael was born and raised in Vancouver. He and his wife Christina have three young adult children.


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