A prominent BC Liberal MLA and leadership candidate sent a letter to the party’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee on Thursday encouraging them to accept the candidacy of prospective opponent Aaron Gunn. 

The letter came shortly after another opponent and MLA Michael Lee advocated for Gunn, a conservative pundit who announced a bid to lead the BC Liberals last weekend, to be disqualified for so-called “intolerant views.” 

“(The party) needs to change so as to re-establish ourselves as a big tent party which welcomes ideas from across the political spectrum, and as the choice of British Columbians to form the next government,” wrote Ross in the letter. 

“To that end, I encourage you, the members of the Leadership Election Organizing Committee, to approve all candidates who meet the qualifications our party has set out, including the current applicant, Aaron Gunn, should he meet those qualifications.” 

In a separate statement posted by Lee on social media Thursday, Lee called on other candidates to “affirm inclusive values (and) join me in calling for (Gunn’s) candidacy to be rejected.” 

As exclusively reported by True North, Gunn hit back at Lee accusing the MLA of “regurgitating NDP talking points,” a reference to an NDP press release attempting to smear Gunn prior to his leadership announcement earlier this month. The NDP issued a similar statement to criticize Lee’s candidacy.

Additionally, Gunn claimed in a tweet that Lee had previously told him he was excited for his entry to the leadership race.

“As noted in my Tweet, Michael is exemplifying the worst aspects of politics. He is the classic politician who says one thing and does another, and people are sick of this behaviour,” Gunn told True North.

Later in his own letter, Ross made it clear that the statement was not an endorsement of Gunn and that he trusted the party to judge wisely. 

“I am running for BC Liberal leader because I believe I can deliver the change our party needs to beat the NDP in 2024, so this letter should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any candidacy other than my own.”