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Christy Clark to resign

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.

The B.C. Liberal Party was meeting in Penticton this week when leader Christy Clark broke the news that she was stepping down.

New interim party leader Rich Coleman spoke with media briefly at the Penticton Lakeside, backed by a very somber Liberal caucus.

“It’s a tough day for our family, our BC Liberal family. We think the world of her, and we were very disappointed when she let us know that decision,” he said, admitting he knew she was struggling with her next steps since losing power.

“At some point in time I guess you come to the conclusion it's time for you to move on, and she has,” he added.

“But it is her decision, and she’s got so much class, that she’s decided that she’s going to do this for us. Give us an opportunity to go through a leadership situation without acrimony or issues.”

The party’s constitution requires a date for a leadership vote to be set within the next 28 days.

Coleman said he told the caucus he has no interest in seeking permanent leadership of the party, and if he changes his mind, will step down as interim leader.

“We are just going to get on with our jobs,” he said, promising that the public will see a formidable opposition party in the legislature in the meantime.

When asked if he was surprised by the announcement, he responded, “I was emotional.”

“Because I love her as a leader, she’s been the greatest person I’ve worked for.”


UPDATE: noon

Former British Columbia premier Christy Clark will resign as leader of the provincial Liberal party and give up her seat in Kelowna.

Clark made her intentions known in a brief statement on Friday.

She said she informed her caucus colleagues about her decision to leave as leader effective Aug. 4.

Clark said in the statement that she is proud of everything she has accomplished, including working to make B.C. the leader in Canada's economy and creating more than 200,000 jobs.

She called the province's protection of the Great Bear Rainforest "British Columbia's gift to the world."

"I am certain that British Columbia's best days lie ahead," she said in the statement.

Clark, 51, led a come-from-behind victory in 2013, sweeping her party to a surprise win over the New Democrats.

But she couldn't pull off a majority government in the election this May, winning just 43 of the 87 seats in the legislature for a minority government. The Liberals lost after 16 years in power.

The New Democrats, with 41 seats, formed a minority government with the support of the Greens, who won three seats. Clark's party lost a confidence vote in the legislature at the end of June.

Clark said that when she offered her resignation to Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon she tried to convince Guichon to call an election. Instead, the lieutenant-governor asked New Democrat Leader John Horgan to form government.

Horgan and his cabinet were sworn in last week.

Former B.C. Liberal MLA Bill Bennett described Clark’s resignation as a loss for both the party and the province, strongly dismissing any suggestion the party forced her out.

"I'm shocked, and I think it's sad that B.C. doesn't get to have the benefit of Christy Clark for another few more years," he said, speaking by phone from Cranbrook.

"I'm not happy about the decision. I wish she had hung on, but I understand why she thinks it's better for the party to have fresh leadership."

– The Canadian Press


UPDATE: 11:30 a.m.

The leader of the provincial Green Party is singing the praises of former premier Christy Clark who announced she would be stepping down as leader of the B.C. Liberals in August.

Andrew Weaver said he wants “to thank Christy Clark for her years of service to British Columbians, both as an MLA and as Leader of the BC Liberals. She has been a fierce advocate for British Columbia, here at home and around the world.”

Weaver said the highlight of his time in the Legislature was working directly with Clark to implement sexualized violence policy legislation for BC’s post-secondary institutions.

“Her leadership and willingness to work across party lines on this vital issue has made universities and colleges across this province safer for our students - and for this I am grateful."


ORIGINAL: 10:20 a.m.

Christy Clark has announced her resignation as the leader of the BC Liberal Party, effective Aug. 4.

“Serving as Premier and serving the people of British Columbia for the past six and a half years has been an incredible honour and privilege,” she said in a short statement Friday.

“I am so proud of everything our BC Liberal team has accomplished. From working to make British Columbia Canada’s leading economy and creating more than 200,000 new jobs, to helping thousands of single parents go from welfare to work through the Single Parent Employee Initiative, to British Columbia’s gift to the world, the protection of the Great Bear Rainforest,” the statement continues.

Clark added that she is “certain” that B.C.’s “best days lie ahead.”



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