The province’s newest contender for the Liberal leadership — and the only candidate from the private sector — officially entered the ring yesterday vowing to bring a more participatory style of government to B.C.

Radio host Christy Clark, a former deputy premier, made the announcement live to listeners on CKNW before stepping into a packed press conference in Vancouver to confirm what many had been speculating for weeks.

“I believe British Columbians are seeking new leadership,” she said. “The kind of leadership that seeks to put more power in the hands of everyday citizens.

“My experience on-air, outside the cocoon of Victoria, gave me a fresh perspective. I learned that government in this province needs to be better tuned in to (British Columbians).”

Clark promised, if elected, to act on a “families-first” agenda, raise the minimum wage and take the contentious matter of the HST to a free vote in the legislature instead of to a referendum, where she said it would certainly be voted out.

“Like most British Columbians, I feel the HST process was fatally flawed from the outset,” Clark said, adding that she supports the tax “in principle.”

“We need to build on what the government has achieved and re-earn the public’s trust where trust has eroded.”