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Premier Christy Clark arrives to speak to the amendment of the throne speech in the legislative assembly before the confidence vote at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, June 29, 2017. Clark will resign as leader of the provincial Liberal party.CHAD HIPOLITO/The Canadian Press

Christy Clark's resignation as BC Liberal Leader triggers a leadership race – and with it, immediate speculation about who might replace her to lead the province's centre-right party.

A few obvious possibilities have already taken themselves out of the running, including former finance minister Kevin Falcon, who challenged Ms. Clark in the previous leadership race; Terry Lake, a long-time MLA and former health minister who retired before the last election; and George Abbott, a former education minister who placed third in the 2011 Liberal leadership race.

Here are some of possible contenders:

Andrew Wilkinson

First elected in 2013 for Vancouver-Quilchena, Mr. Wilkinson was appointed minister of advanced education in 2014 following a stint as minister of technology.

Mr. Wilkinson was the Liberals' main spokesperson on campaign finance issues.

After coming under fire for refusing to ban corporate and union donations, the Liberals earlier this year promised to form an independent panel to look at political fundraising.

Reduced to a minority in the May election, the Liberals put forward a throne speech that included a plan to end corporate and union donations.

The minority Liberal government – in which Mr. Wilkinson had been appointed attorney general and minister of justice – was defeated after a confidence vote in the legislature on June 29.

Todd Stone

First elected in 2013, Mr. Stone was re-elected in 2017 in the Kamloops-South Thompson riding. Under the former Liberal government, Mr. Stone was B.C.'s minister of transportation and infrastructure as well as minister responsible for emergency management.

This past April, Mr. Stone led a groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed 10-lane, $3.5-billion Massey Bridge, which would replace the three-lane tunnel that now connects Richmond and Delta. That project, championed by Clark, has an uncertain future: Richmond council has asked the new NDP government to look at upgrading the tunnel instead and most Lower Mainland mayors oppose the project.

Mary Polak

First elected in 2005 in Langley, Ms. Polak has served in several cabinet positions and was the minister of health in the short-lived cabinet of the Liberal minority government before it was defeated.

As environment minister, Ms. Polak came under pressure in relation to a contaminated soil-disposal site near Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island. Following months of protests, court actions and problems at the facility, the government this past February pulled the permit for the project.

Mike Bernier

Mr. Bernier, the former mayor of Dawson Creek, has been flagged by party insiders as a possible leadership candidate. Ms. Clark appointed him education minister two years ago, when he stepped into a heated dispute with the province's teachers. He managed the fallout from a Supreme Court of Canada ruling last year that will ultimately require the hiring of thousands of teachers across the province.

Dianne Watts

British Columbians have, in recent decades, elected two former big-city mayors as premier. That raises the possibility that Ms. Watts, the Surrey mayor from 2005 to 2014, could follow Mike Harcourt and Gordon Campbell into the premier's office – if she is interested in first winning over Liberal Party members and vying for the leadership.

It is not improbable that Ms. Watts might be interested. She considered a run for the provincial Liberal leadership when Mr. Campbell stepped down in 2010, but ultimately stood down for family reasons.

She has since been elected a federal Conservative MP. However, she became the MP for South Surrey-White Rock in the 2015 election in which the Tories were consigned to opposition. Being premier might be more appealing than betting on whether the Conservatives will oust the Justin Trudeau-led Liberals in the next federal election.

Given her municipal roots as a popular Surrey mayor, Ms. Watts might be able to compete for seats in Surrey – a competitive provincial, political background. She would also be a fresh face for the provincial Liberals, unconnected to handling of recent files that may have angered voters.

With a report from Ian Bailey

B.C. Premier Christy Clark says her throne speech Thursday had to reflect ideas from all parties after she was handed a minority government in May’s election. The speech included ideas from NDP and Green party platforms.

The Canadian Press

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