Libs defensive in debate

UPDATE: 2:15 p.m.

Several of the BC Liberals leadership hopefuls were on the defence as their fellow candidates picked apart their platforms during a heated debate in Kelowna, B.C., today.

Todd Stone and Andrew Wilkinson called out former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts for not having released a platform in the campaign that is set to wrap up in two months.

Watts questioned Stone's record as the province's former transportation minister, arguing the party lost seats in Lower Mainland in last spring's election over a lack of transit improvements.

Stone defended his plans to cut taxes and increase childcare spaces in the province, while calling Wilkinson's proposals "timid and tired."

Former finance minister Mike de Jong said a solution to housing affordability in the province would be to legislate that municipalities speed up approvals on new developments.

There will be two more events where the six candidates will go head-to-head before party members selects a new leader in February.

- The Canadian Press

ORIGINAL: 10:20 a.m.

The day has come for B.C.’s six Liberal leadership hopefuls to take the stage in Kelowna.

The leadership debate starts at 10:30 a.m at the Coast Capri Hotel and is the fourth of six debates taking place across B.C.

Todd Stone, Andrew Wilkinson, Mike deJong, current MLAs Sam Sullivan and Michael Lee and MP Dianne Watts will explain their visions for the province in front of party members in the Okanagan.

Former premier Christy Clark left the job vacant when she resigned in early August, from both leader and MLA for Kelowna West.

Candidates will battle it out, while clarifying why they feel their plan is the best for B.C.’s future.

Following the debate de Jong is expected to make an announcement regarding education at UBC Okanagan.

The announcement is planned for the UBCO arts building at 1 p.m.

The new leader will be elected following three days of voting by party members Feb.1 to 3.

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