VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Just days after announcing she was leaving BC politics, Christy Clark now says she is done with public life.
Clark spoke to the media for the first time since Friday’s announcement that she was quitting as both BC Liberal Party leader and as MLA for Kelowna West.
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The former premier says she decided to leave now so members of the Liberals are able to renew themselves in time for an election. “It’s going to be an adjustment for our party and our caucus to learn what it is to be in opposition. They’re going to have to find some new energy and I felt like it was the time for them to do this. I don’t think there’s going to be an election in the fall. And it was the right time for me. A leader needs to know when it’s time to go. There’s nothing worse than seeing politicians hanging on because they feel they’re irreplaceable. Nobody is irreplaceable — I’m not.”
She insists the decision was entirely hers and there was no push to force her out as party boss.
When asked what she plans to do next, she offered no insight, only saying she would not be returning to public life and her immediate plans include making her teenaged son Hamish do his homework and possibly some gardening.
When pressed, Clark refused to speculate on who should replace her as party leader. Langley East MLA Rich Coleman is the interim party leader until a new boss is chosen. “I would like it to be the person the party wants. I’m not going to try and influence that in any way. I’m going to vote because I’m a member. Hamish is going to vote because he’s a member but I’m not going to get involved in any of the campaigns. This decision belongs to the members of the party.”
She says she knew on Election Night, May 9th that her time would soon be up. “It was time for me to leave, in my heart, and that feeling grew as the lieutenant governor called on John Horgan to form the government. I was going to resign as leader that night, but I felt like I had a responsibility to get the caucus in the opposition offices and get us organized. I didn’t want to leave in the midst of chaos, so I stuck around.”
Clark’s resignation is effective as of August 4th. “It’s great for me but I want to leave at a time that’s good for my party. I asked [the caucus], I asked them all, ‘did they want me to stay? Did they want me to go?’ Every single person in the room asked me to stay but I have been looking that group of people in the eye for six and a half years and I just knew, that even though they didn’t know it, it was time for me to leave.”
Her announcement to resign came 10 days after John Horgan was sworn-in as premier.
Elections BC says the by-election to replace her seat in the riding of Kelowna West will cost roughly $500,000.