Former transportation minister Todd Stone puts winter tires on his pickup, October 2013. (Black Press files)

Todd Stone hits the road for leadership

B.C. Liberal hopeful emphasizes youth, technology

Four years as transportation minister have given Todd Stone a higher profile than some B.C. Liberal leadership candidates, which is a mixed blessing.

Stone is the law-and-order family man who hiked fines for distracted driving and passing a stopped school bus. He’s also the former software company CEO who promised to deliver smartphone ride sharing to the clogged streets of big cities. He didn’t deliver on that, or a promised review of what he admitted were unfair Lower Mainland bridge tolls, an issue that cost his party crucial support in Metro Vancouver in the spring election.

The second-term MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson officially becomes the eighth candidate to succeed Christy Clark today (Tuesday) with a road show starting in Surrey, home turf of rival candidate Dianne Watts. From there he goes to Victoria for a technology announcement at llamaZOO, a 3D virtual reality company, and then flies to his home town of Kamloops for a rally.

In an interview with Black Press, Stone listed a notable group of supporters, with a promise of more to come. Sitting MLAs Greg Kyllo (Shuswap), Peter Milobar (Kamloops North Thompson), Coralee Oakes (Cariboo North) and Jane Thornthwaite (North Vancouver-Seymour) are supporting him.

In a contest where party members vote online in early February, Stone adds former MLAs Barry Penner, Don McRae, Terry Lake, Claude Richmond, Kevin Krueger, Doug Horne, Sheila Orr and Susan Brice to his base, as well as Bud Smith, the former Social Credit cabinet minister and leadership candidate who has signed on as his senior advisor.

Stone’s campaign co-chairs are Peter Fassbender, the former education and Translink minister who lost a rematch in Surrey-Fleetwood with the NDP’s Jagrup Brar, and Brittney Kerr, a former Vision Vancouver board member and “millennial” federal Liberal who spent a year on the B.C. desk in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office.

Stone describes Fassbender as a baby boomer with roots in the federal Conservative Party, a key for the B.C. Liberals as they work to hold their Liberal-Conservative coalition together.

The winner, says the media-savvy Stone, will be the candidate who best articulates a vision for the province, and also has the “intangibles” to take on the NDP and Green Party and is “relatable in Williams Lake and Yaletown and every point in between.”

He’s diplomatic about his rivals, and not shy about describing what he sees as his advantages.

“The intangibles that I bring to the table are that I’ll be the youngest candidate in the race at 45,” Stone said. “I’ve got three kids that are still in the K-12 education system. I’m a tech CEO, and I’m from Kamloops, which is a microcosm of the entire province. It has a lot of the urban challenges of transit and affordable housing, and amongst the highest rates of opioid addiction and deaths from opioids outside of the Lower Mainland.

“But it’s very much in a rural setting, where the resource economy is still very important. It’s a city that’s working its way through that transition from being solely dependent on resource extraction to the knowledge economy, and Kamloopsians recognize that the two actually go hand in hand.”

BC legislatureBC Liberals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cocooning pays dividends for local environmental group

A butterfly adoption program helps keep the Alouette River Management Society in Maple Ridge afloat

Maple Ridge redirects $225,000 from RCMP to community safety needs

A new manager and two community safety officers join a team patrolling the city’s downtown streets

Mayors welcome rideshare expansion into Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge

As of Thursday, Lyft is now offering service throughout Metro Vancouver

Maple Ridge Return-It centre serves as pilot for new beverage recycling effort

Haney Bottle Depot will be part of a six-month trial where consumers don’t have to sort their cans

Foundation seeks to bring ‘meaningful’ art to Hammond

Asking Maple Ridge residents for suggestions on design and theme for two large community murals

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Wanted Burnaby man arrested in White Rock

34-year-old facing 15 charges, including sexual assault

Most Read