VANCOUVER, BC -- Skeena MLA Ellis Ross and the five other candidates seeking the leadership of the BC Liberal Party meet virtually  tonight in the campaign's first debate.

The Liberals will elect a new leader February 5th to replace former leader Andrew Wilkinson who stepped down shortly after the party's election defeat last October.

The debate will be live on the party's website and Facebook page.

Stewart Prest, a political science lecturer at Simon Fraser University, says the Liberals are seeking new political directions after consecutive election losses, and the debate offers opportunities to put forward new visions.

Former Liberal cabinet minister Mary Polak says party members are looking for a leader who can guide the Liberals in Opposition while putting forth a credible plan to take to the next election.

Ross is competing against Vancouver entrepreneur Gavin Dew, former cabinet minister Kevin Falcon, Vancouver MLA Michael Lee, former chamber of commerce executive Val Litwin, and Kelowna MLA Renee Merrifield.