Mary Polak. File photo

Langley MLA Polak: Clark resignation a surprise

“Reluctantly” accepts decision

Langley MLA Mary Polak said for her, Christy Clark’s decision to resign as leader of the B.C. Liberal party was unexpected.

“It was a surprise,” Polak told The Times.

On Friday, Clark announced she would be stepping down.

“Serving as premier and serving the people of British Columbia for the past six and a half years has been an incredible honour and privilege,” Clark said in a written statement issued after she informed the Liberal caucus of her decision.

Polak said it was an emotional meeting.

“There were a lot of tears in the room.”

Polak said she personally was, “really resistant” to the idea, but she came around after Clark explained it would be better for the party and province for a new leader to be in place sooner than later.

“Reluctantly, I understand,” Polak said.

It ensures that when the inevitable collapse of the NDP-Green coalition occurs, the new Liberal leader will have had time to to prepare, Polak said.

“The average minority government in Canada lasts 18 to 24 months,” Polak noted.

Polak said people in her riding have been coming up to her and praising Clark for showing “class” in the way she dealt with the election results.

“It’s one thing to out-and-out lose an election, but to win the election and lose the government, it’s a really unique situation,” Polak said.

Polak said she has no plans to run for the top job after seeing what it demanded from Clark and from previous Liberal leader Gordon Campbell.

“No,” she said.

“I have no interest. I’ve watched what the job is.”

Polak, who was elected as a Liberal MLA in 2005, has never served in opposition before, but remarked that as a Surrey school trustee, “I’ve had some opposition-like experiences with the NDP.”

Langley East MLA Rich Coleman has been named the interim Liberal leader.

He said he currently has no plans to pursue the role on a more permanent basis.

“I told caucus this morning that I have no intention at this time to seek the leadership, and if I ever did change I would step down — and I don’t plan to step down,” Coleman said.

dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com