The fifth candidate for the B.C. Liberal Party leadership is a business leader and entrepreneur who is playing up his status as a newcomer to politics.
“This campaign isn’t about slogans, and it’s not about a name,” Val Litwin says in a campaign video released Tuesday. “We need to become the party of 2024. People are demanding the change that will position us for what comes next.”
Litwin, 44, is promoting his experience as an entrepreneur and former CEO of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. He is the fifth candidate to announce, after Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, Vancouver-Langara MLA Micheal Lee, Vancouver business consultant Gavin Dew and former finance and transportation minister Kevin Falcon.
Litwin and Dew are both presenting themselves as a choice for a new generation. Litwin’s campaign notes that 61 per cent of B.C. residents are under the age of 39. Litwin lists his business experience as creator of a franchise called Blo Blow Dry Bar and vice president of Nurse Next Door, a home health care provider.
Kamloope-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone, who was expected to take a second run at the party leadership, has endorsed Falcon’s bid to return to B.C. politics. Falcon’s endorsers also include MLAs Mike Morris, Ian Paton, Trevor Halford and former Surrey mayor and MP Dianne Watts, who finished a close second in the 2018 B.C. Liberal contest that chose Vancouver-Quilchena MLA Andrew Wilkinson.
A party vote to determine who succeeds Wilkinson as the next B.C. Liberal leader is set for Feb. 5, 2022, using the same formula of 100 points for each of the province’s 87 constituencies as the 2017 vote. The party executive has set Dec. 29 as the cutoff date to join or renew a membership and vote in the leadership contest.
Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond was named interim leader after the October 2017 election saw John Horgan’s NDP gain a majority government, takings seats from the B.C. Liberals in Surrey, Langley, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, North Vancouver, Parksville-Qualicum, Boundary-Similkameen and Vernon-Monashee.