Terrace’s Lucy Sager has announced her intention of running for the B.C. Liberal leadership.

B.C. business owner vies for Liberal leadership

Lucy Sager is a business development expert out of Terrace

It will be a battle of David and Goliaths—yes, plural.

A Terrace business owner with no experience in elected office has announced her plan to enter the B.C. Liberal leadership race.

Lucy Sager is a business development expert with a background in maximizing local opportunities from major projects.

The 38-year old says she identifies with the real-world struggles of today’s British Columbian and aims to bring back the “vision and values” of the party with a diverse economy and wise fiscal management.

“We kind of joke around that I have no political baggage,” Sager says.

“[But] when you start looking at my practical experience in small business and major projects, with my MBA and my time in oil, gas, construction—this is not theory to me. It’s in my background and I’ve actually done it. We need some fresh blood and new ideas in the party.”

Sager will be up against some political heavyweights in the leadership race, including confirmed contender Sam Sullivan, the former Vancouver mayor now MLA of Vancouver-False Creek, and the expected confirmation of former Surrey Mayor, now a conservative MP, Dianne Watts.

Several other high profile politicans are also expected to enter the race in the coming days.

READ MORE: Surrey MP rumoured to announce bid for Liberal leadership

READ MORE: Sam Sullivan first to announce bid to become BC Liberal leader

Sager has never held a seat in the Legislative Assembly but has worked behind the scenes with the Liberal party for several years, as the campaign manager for Liberal Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, and as the riding president.

She has no plans to unseat Ross, but will look for a “winnable” riding if elected leader.

In the meantime, she hopes to use her political inexperience to her campaign’s advantage.

“Five years ago I was bussing tables working my way through grad school, and now I’m running for the leadership,” Sager said. “I will totally acknowledge this is a David and Goliath story.

But there are people all across British Columbia who have never been engaged with politics but are passionate about leadership. They’re looking at their small business and saying, ‘if we don’t come to terms with how to reconcile small-business tax, I’m shutting the doors.”

The seat for the Liberal leadership opened up following the resignation of former Premier Christy Clark, brought on by the party’s narrow defeat in May’s provincial election by a coalition of the NDP and Green parties.

Sager says the loss was due to what average British Columbians see as an inaccessible party. What’s missing, she says, is a bridge between the interests of northern and southern sectors of the province.

“We forgot how to engage people where they were. We have to get back to saying ‘we represent everybody.’

Jobs and economy are extremely important, but we still have to be empathetic and compassionate to people in Vancouver who are working three jobs to pay the rent…we need to connect the north and the south, and help them see that these major projects we’re working on up here are so you can afford your life down there.

“If we don’t have major projects going, where are we going to find the resources to share? That’s the conversation I’d like to have with the NDP.”

Sager grew up in Terrace where her parents worked extensively with First Nations communities on and off reserve; her family, she says, was adopted by Kitsumkalum Chief John Robert.

Sager later attended Northwest Community College before opening a retail store, Out Spoke’N Bike and Sport. A downturn in the local economy, spurred by the 2010 closure of West Fraser’s Eurocan paper mill in Kitimat, pushed her to close her doors and head back to school.

She challenged a masters in business degree at UNBC Prince George, which dovetailed into a career with major projects coming into the region.

In 2014, Sager formed Spirit Strategies in Terrace, a company devoted to local business and project development through negotiation, facilitation and community engagement.

In her run for the Liberal leadership, Sager says her qualifications are rooted in some of the area’s largest investments in construction, Canadian oil and gas, mining and forestry. At the same time, her focus on families and community-level engagement is a micro-level approach to governance she feels is expandable to the provincial whole.

“There are a lot of members in caucus that should maybe have more practical experience to better understand where British Columbians are at,” Sager says. “What are the struggles and stresses of small business taxes? What does it look like when LNG projects don’t’ happen? What are the alternatives?”

Whether Sager is in the race to win, or to make a statement is a question she has heard often since announcing her intention to run. But with signatures on her nomination papers from many long-standing politicians, she says, “everyone wants us to be there. We’re taking this very seriously.”

“What this does is it brings new energy to the party. Because it engages people who have never been engaged before…maybe we won’t win, but we’ll try to win. And everyone else is taking us serious too.”

The deadline to enter the leadership race is Dec. 29, but all candidates must pay a $10,000 entry fee by Sept. 25 to attend the first leadership forum Sept. 29 in Vancouver.

Just Posted

Multiple people injured in crash near Qualicum Beach

Fire crews worked alongside paramedic: Dashwood fire dept.

Sisters share exhibit in Qualicum Beach

From gnomes and fairytales to trees and texture, but plenty of connections between pair

Parksville council disagrees over parkland, payment

Developer planned to provide 0.5 ha. of land

Rodeo returns to Coombs for fourth year

Events include saddle, bareback riding and barrel racing

Model trains, historical exhibits offered at Parksville museum’s Railway Days

The family-friendly event takes place on Aug. 17 and 18 and is by donation

Kim XO is Black Press Media’s fashionista

Starting Sept. 7, stylist Kim XO will host Fashion Fridays on the Life channel on Black Press Media

Tim Hortons says its China expansion will include menu with congee, matcha

Coffee chain plans to open 1,500 stores in Asia over the next decade

How to help B.C. wildfire victims

Donations being taken by many organizations, BC Hydro waiving bills

Whole city of Kimberley on an evacuation alert due to wildfires

Residents woke up Friday morning being told to get ready to leave any moment

Feds to allow charities to engage in political, but not partisan, activity

The plan is to allow charities to pursue political activities

Trump suggests Canada has been sidelined from latest NAFTA negotiations

Canadian officials have insisted they’re unfazed by being left out of the discussions

B.C. judge who cried during a victim statement to rule on recusing herself

The judge will decide if she’ll disqualify herself from sentencing a man for sexual assault

Photographer files complaint with police after alleged assault on the job

Toronto photographer says he was attacked while covering a protest

Publication ban lifted on details about Fredericton shooting that killed 4

Judge lifts publication ban on court documents related to the Fredericton shooting

Most Read