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BC Liberal Leadership candidate pitches Quesnel on new vision for party

Val Litwin said it was time for the BC Liberals to change at a campaign stop on Oct. 28
Val Litwin is aiming to become the new leader for the BC Liberal Party. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Val Litwin thinks it’s time for the BC Liberal Party to change.

At a campaign stop in Quesnel on Oct. 28, he compared the leadership race to updating a computer’s operating system.

“This party has been clicking ‘remind me later,’ for years,” he said, referencing the options when updating a computer.

“This leadership race is about the opportunity to download that new operating system that will win in 2024.”

Litwin, a self-described outsider, is one of six candidates running to be BC Liberal Party leader. He has been touring northern B.C. in recent weeks, including stops in Prince Rupert, Terrace and Kitimat, visiting with local riding associations.

The former CEO of the BC Chambers of Commerce is pitching that the Liberals need to better appeal to younger voters, noting 61 per cent of the province is under 40-years-old.

“That core new definition is it’s okay to still be fiscally responsible, but now let’s be socially conscious. I do think this party, especially in 2020, made some unforced errors in the signals we sent to communities around our desire to be inclusive,” he said.

“We have some relationship building to do with the LGBTQ2+ community, and women. In a party that I would run, I want to make sure everyone knows they’re welcome.”

READ MORE: The B.C. Liberal leadership race: Rebirth or reckoning?

The 44-year-old said the province was in prime position to change how it develops, noting the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how people view working. He predicted more investment will be needed across the province.

“It doesn’t matter what you do, or the kind of life you want to live, you can do it and live it anywhere.”

Litwin said he was leaning on the experience of building support and relationships throughout the province in his role with the chamber.

On a potential name change for the BC Liberal Party, Litwin again invoked younger voters, noting they “can smell a bad re-brand a mile away.”

The party leader will be chosen by its members. Each riding will receive 100 points, and each member will fill out a ranked choice ballot, which will be counted on Feb. 5 – but Litwin isn’t expecting to be first place that night.

“There really is a thing called ‘the curse of the front runner’ in this ranked ballot system. Our strategy is to be in those top three spots when it comes to Feb. 5, and we know we have a shot.”

Other candidates running in the leadership contest include current MLAs, Michael Lee, Renee Merryfield and Ross, former leadership candidate Kevin Falcon and businessman Gavin Dew.

READ MORE: Andrew Wilkinson quits as BC Liberal Leader, party to choose interim replacement

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