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.”

Just Posted

10 tonnes of plastic cleared from North Coast beaches

Living Oceans Society spent three days sorting the marine debris

Court orders protestors to leave fish farm site

“The adjournment allows us to compile our evidence and present it in 30 days.”

NISS Students find out what journalism is all about

Four students visit the Gazette for a work experience

Disability Tax Credits in jeopardy for Type 1 diabetics

“It’s something I deal with every day of my life.”

Port Hardy Residents still waiting for Telus Fibre Optic

Mansourati was unable to say who Telus would be contracting to finish the ninth fibre serving area.

100,000 bulbs shine bright for Lights of Hope

St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver launched its annual campaign to raise funds for equipment, research

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Most Read