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

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

A third-party crew cut the Telus fiber line on Tuesday, Nov. 17, resulting in a nearly 24hr communications blackout for the Valley (Black Press Media)
Recent outage highlights vulnerabilites in local communication infrastructure

A third-party crew accidentally severed the cable on Highway 20, resulting in a valley-wide communications outage

The Bay Hotel burned to the ground last night (Christina Hoppe photo)
Bay Hotel burns to the ground in early morning fire

The building was abandoned and had been falling apart for years

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

So far Northern Lights Wildlife Society has received five grizzly bear cubs from Bella Coola this year (NLWS photo)
Another sow grizzly destroyed; two more cubs sent to Northern Lights Wildlife Society

A total of five grizzly bear cubs have been sent to Northern Lights Wildlife Society from Bella Coola

Logs are piled up at West Fraser Timber in Quesnel, B.C., on April 21, 2009. West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. has signed a deal to acquire Norbord Inc. in an all-stock transaction valued at $4.0 billion.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
West Fraser Timber to acquire Norbord in all-stock deal valued at $4B

Shareholders are being offered 0.675 of a West Fraser share for each Norbord share

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read