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Clark launches Lib leadership campaign

Talk radio host and former MLA Christy Clark this morning officially entered the race to lead the British Columbia Liberal Party.

Clark appeared on CKNW's Bill Good show to announce her candidacy a few minutes before giving a press conference. She said she would address the HST, focus on economic issues and pursue a family first agenda.

Good asked how she could say she believed in putting families first when she's preparing to leave her own young family for long stretches to campaign for leader and possibly as premier.

Said Clark, “Bill, it's not a 24-hour-a-day job. It's only a 24-hour-a-day job if that's how you choose to do it.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper appears to do a demanding job and still be home for dinner, she said, adding that her child is no longer a toddler and she's talked it over with him.

Speaking to supporters and reporters at the press conference she went into more detail about her platform. “I think it's time for us to put power back in the hands of the people of British Columbia,” she said.

MLAs should be representatives of their communities in Victoria, not the other way around, she said. She believes in open government, she said, with lots of room for debate and discussion “where it's about ideas, where it's about input, because that's why we all join political parties, isn't it.”

Clark said rather than go forward with a referendum on the HST she would put it to a free vote of the legislature. “We have to end the uncertainty of the HST,” she said. “After almost a year the public still hates the HST.”

She likes the idea of a province wide vote, but putting it to the legislature would allow MLAs to show leadership on the HST, she later told reporters in a scrum. “I think the referendum is going to fail,” she said. “I think the HST, if it goes to a genuinely free vote in the legislature, isn't going to pass.”

Clark also dismissed the idea of holding an inquiry into what happened with the sale of BC Rail. “The RCMP investigated it thoroughly,” said Clark, who might have been called as a witness if the corruption trial had proceeded. “I don't intend to revisit it.”

She acknowledged that Patrick Kinsella, a controversial backroom Liberal player, is a supporter.

She said she supports raising the minimum wage, but by less than the 25 percent the NDP has called for. Leadership opponent Moira Stilwell has also said the wage to B.C.'s lowest paid workers, which has been at $8 an hour since 2001, should go up to $10 an hour.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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