Political pundit Aaron Gunn announced his anticipated entry to the BC Liberal Party leadership race on Saturday in Victoria.
Gunn, who is an outsider to the party, made the announcement at the Greek Community Hall to a crowd of supporters.
“I am tired of standing on the sidelines. I’m tired of watching this province, this country might I add continue to head in the wrong direction. The policies that are being enacted are the antithesis to common sense,” said Gunn.
Weeks before his entry, Gunn had announced an exploratory committee to weigh his entry to the leadership contest which is set to be held on February 5, 2022.
The race was prompted by the BC Liberal’s poor performance during the 2020 British Columbia general election, after which former BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson resigned from the party’s top spot.
During last year’s snap election, the BC Liberals lost 13 seats in the legislature, down from the 41 they used to hold.
Prior to his entry into provincial politics, Gunn was a commentator for various conservative advocacy groups including the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and BC Proud.
During the announcement, Gunn revealed several policy positions including making university funding dependent on whether post-secondary schools support freedom of expression, ending the ICBC monopoly, scrapping the provincial carbon tax and developing LNG to fight climate change by reducing China’s coal output.
“I want to be clear about this, I am vaccinated, I support vaccination and I encourage others to get vaccinated as well but the idea that in a country like Canada we would coerce our own citizens into injecting something into their bodies against their will especially in situations like travel, where equally effective alternatives like rapid testing exist and are available is grossly unconstitutional,” Gunn said on vaccine mandates.
To date, six others have declared their candidacy for the leadership including MLAs Ellis Ross, Michael Lee and Renee Merrifield. Former MLA and deputy premier Kevin Falcon also announced his bid for leadership alongside BC businessmen Val Litwin and Gavin Dew.
Currently, the interim leader of the BC Liberals is Shirley Bond, who has announced that she will not be entering the race.
One day prior to Gunn’s announcement, the BC NDP went on the offence and attacked the rookie candidate for promising to allow a voice to all members of the party including social conservatives.
“Aaron Gunn says he would make space for discrimination” the BC NDP alleged in an October 8, 2021 news release.
In conversation with True North, Gunn challenged the NDP on the statement claiming that the governing party would be happy if any other candidate wins the leadership race other than him.
“You see some of these other establishment people in the race, the NDP know all about them, they want one of them to win and they’re scared of having an outsider come into the race and realign the political system. That’s what we’re here to do, I’m not afraid of the NDP, I will be hitting back in the next couple of days,” said Gunn.