For the first time in 89 years, British Columbia has a Premier who doesn’t have a seat. The last time that happened was when Liberal Premier John Oliver was defeated in the 1924 general election, which his party won. Mr. Oliver returned to the House when an MLA stepped down to create a by-election in Nelson. Who will sacrifice a seat to return Christy Clark to the legislature? Norm Ruff, a veteran observer of B.C. politics, and Marjorie Cohen, a political scientist at Simon Fraser University, both agree the move is likely to come soon and it will have to be in a safe Liberal riding. Here are some of those who may be asked to step aside, or who might volunteer.
Where: West Vancouver-Capilano
Why: He’s 80 years old and surprised many by running again instead of retiring.
Why not: He’s 80 years old and can do whatever the heck he wants, plus, after being appointed minister of state for seniors in 2012, he finally got into cabinet and may not want to give it up just yet.
Where: Richmond East
Why: Her riding is a Liberal stronghold, which she won with nearly 55 per cent of the vote on Tuesday. Ms. Reid has held the seat for 22 uninterrupted years, which means she has a full pension and wouldn’t face a financial loss by stepping aside. She is not likely cabinet material and, rather than sitting on the backbench, she might prefer playing a pivotal role in helping out Ms. Clark.
Why not: After winning seven consecutive elections and getting a lock on the voters of Richmond East she’s won the right to call her own shots. And she loves being a politician, so why quit now?
Why: His riding could be the safest Liberal seat in B.C. and this first-time provincial candidate won it, by a big margin, with the help of the party, so he may feel stepping aside is the right thing to do. Also, he’s a former party president and deputy minister, so he could be offered important work outside of elected office.
Why not: He’s smart, accomplished and Ms. Clark may want him to play a key role as she remakes cabinet in her image. In short, the lawyer and Oxford graduate is the kind of new face the party needs to put forward.
Where: Surrey-White Rock
Why: A stalwart Liberal with a sense of history and honour who would put the party’s needs before his own interests. Mr. Hogg has said he would step aside if the party asked him to.
Why not: His riding is outside the city and it might look like Ms. Clark didn’t think she could win in Vancouver. Also, his skills and steady hand may prove invaluable as the government sets a new course.
Why: Solid riding, centrally located and she was critical of Ms. Clark when the leader admitted during the campaign she deliberately ran a red light, which may put her on the outs with the Premier.
Why not: Dr. Stillwell, former head of nuclear medicine at St. Paul’s Hospital, is definitely cabinet material. Plus there is already a shortage of smart women in government, so why sacrifice one of the few?