Christy Clark to re­sign as B.C. Lib­eral leader

Tells the cau­cus she will also give up her seat in Kelowna

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD -

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

Clark said 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.

“I am cer­tain that Bri­tish Columbia’s best days lie ahead,” she said in the state­ment.

She also called her gov­ern­ment’s pro­tec­tion of the Great Bear Rain­for­est “Bri­tish Columbia’s gift to the world.”

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 had been in power for 16 years.

The 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 the gov­ern­ment.

The NDP, with 41 seats, formed a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment with the sup­port of the Greens, who won three seats. 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 that 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.

Green party Leader An­drew Weaver thanked Clark for her ser­vice, call­ing her a fierce ad­vo­cate for the prov­ince.

CHAD HIPOLITO, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Christy Clark said she is proud of ev­ery­thing she has ac­com­plished.

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