Heavy lifting ahead for BC Liberals

As the BC Liberals move into the unfamiliar confines of opposition, they’ll have to choose who best will lead them

The final act in this year’s bizarre political drama played out last week with the resignation of former Premier Christy Clark.

Looking relaxed, and frankly relieved, she told reporters Monday, “I am done with public life.”

Her resignation comes at the end of a tumultuous few months: The election of a minority government; the assemblage of a partnership between the Greens and the NDP; a bizarre Liberal throne speech; and a final non-confidence vote that prompted Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon to call on NDP leader John Horgan to form the next government.

Since then Clark has been noticeable by her absence.

So, while many expressed shock and surprise by her announcement Friday, it wasn’t all that surprising.

It was unlikely that the BC Liberals were going to fight the next election with Clark at the helm. There was too much baggage, and too much bitterness for her to regain the confidence of the electorate.

As she said Monday, the party needs renewal and this is the best time for that to take place.

Both the NDP and the Green Party will want to consolidate their gains (and replenish their war chests) before heading into the next election. Horgan and the NDP will want to score some quick wins before presenting a throne speech this fall that can put into action the years of promises they’ve made.

The Greens will want time to demonstrate they are a viable option – not just an alternative.

The Liberals, meanwhile, need to rebuild. Not only must they replace key players lost in the last election, they must decide what kind of party they want to be. Their strength has always come from uniting divergent right-of-centre perspectives. That’s easier done when you are in power. However, that unity is harder to maintain from the opposition benches.

Perhaps that’s why Clark was looking so relieved.

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