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Clark vows to fight for B.C. despite threat of her ouster by 801 group

B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark addresses a gathering during a campaign stop in Campbell River, B.C. on May 11, 2013.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark says that if she remains premier after next week's election, she won't be forced out by the so-called 801 group said to be preparing to challenge her leadership.

Ms. Clark was wary about confirming the existence of the reported group, but dealt with the issue in a telephone town hall Saturday when a caller asked if he would be wasting his vote to support her given the group's supposed existence.

"I think this 801 thing, if it really even exists, is a group of people who don't want our party to win. Period. They are people with a personal agenda," she told a caller and listeners to the town hall.

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"I promise you this: I am not going to let their personal agenda come before the agenda for our province," Ms. Clark said during the 60-minute town hall organized by the B.C. Liberals.

She said that if she wins the support to continue as premier she will fight on for her agenda.

Recent media reports have suggested some Liberals are assembling to pressure Ms. Clark to step aside as leader beginning their efforts one minute after the polls close on voting day, May. 14.

The Liberals are running behind the B.C. NDP in the polls, fuelling speculation that the government will be defeated next week. Liberals have governed the province since 2001.

There have been questions about Ms. Clark's caucus support. The former deputy premier and education minister won the leadership of the B.C. Liberals in early 2011 with the support of only one member of caucus, Burnaby MLA Harry Bloy, who is not seeking re-election.

On another issue, Ms. Clark said she hoped to limit the threshold at which British Columbians don't have to pay Medical Services Plan premiums based on income.

She said that would depend on the state of the economy.

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Ms. Clark said 800,000 people do not now pay premiums due to their income. "Maybe it could be a million people or a million and a half people if we continue to grow the economy.

"MSP is a very small portion of our health-care costs in British Columbia, but I appreciate that it's an impact for someone on a fixed income."

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