Sam Sullivan enters BC Liberal leadership race

Former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan has thrown his hat in the ring for the leadership of the BC Liberal Party.

Sullivan announced on Thursday that he had filed papers to enter the race, vowing to bring more “urban and youth support” for the party.

WATCH: May 2013: Sam Sullivan on the BC Liberals’ surprise election win

Sullivan said his top priority would be to reduce home prices by increasing supply and end the drug overdose crisis by making “substitution treatments” available.

He noted that, while he served as Vancouver’s mayor, a position he held from 2005 to 2008, he championed the “EcoDensity” policy that encouraged development along transit lines, in centres and along corridors.

Sullivan also said he would tackle the overdose crisis through what he called Chronic Addiction Substitution Treatments (C.A.S.T.).

“Today, house prices and overdose deaths are higher than ever,” he said. “As leader I will modernize city governments so cities no longer prevent housing but create housing, and add hundreds of homes for rental, currently empty because of strata rules.”

Sullivan also said he wanted to bring in an “MST,” which he called a modified version of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), a tax that was voted down in a 2011 referendum.

But an HST, he noted is “universally endorsed by economists around the world.” He wanted to bring in a version that would have “all the advantages,” but also had exemptions on goods and services for low-income people.

READ MORE: Dianne Watts to seek BC Liberal leadership, step down as Conservative MP

Sullivan joined the race one day after news emerged that former Surrey mayor and current Conservative MP Dianne Watts would run for Liberal leader.

Former attorney general Andrew Wilkinson is expected to announce his own run on Monday.

Entrants to the race must pay a $10,000 fee just to run; they have to pay $50,000 if they wish to stay in the race until February, when voting commences.

BC Liberal members will vote on a new leader from Feb. 1 through 3.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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