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Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:08 pm    Post subject: Andrew Wilkinson wins BC liberal leadership Reply with quote

With Wilkinson, B.C. Liberals opt for tried and true over a change in culture

With the most votes in 6 straight elections, the party is betting that the status quo is still successful

Justin McElroy · CBC News · Posted: Feb 04, 2018 7:00 AM PT | Last Updated: 7 hours ago

Andrew Wilkinson celebrates after being elected leader of the British Columbia Liberal Party in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday February 3, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

When a political party loses power, its members have to decide: change, or more of the same?

In choosing Andrew Wilkinson, they've opted decisively for the latter.

A doctor, lawyer, former cabinet minister, former party president and MLA for some of the richest neighbourhoods in B.C. on Vancouver's West Side, Wilkinson was both the oldest candidate in the race and the one with the most endorsements from his fellow MLAs.

Renewal, it isn't.

But as several speakers on the convention stage reminded members, the B.C. Liberals have gotten the most votes in six straight elections. And Wilkinson receiving the majority of secondary support from Mike de Jong and Todd Stone supporters is a sign that the party is more than happy to defend their 16 years in power.

"The B.C. Liberal Party has been tarred and feathered by social media and the left as being heartless. I think that's just plain wrong," Wilkinson said a week before the vote.

"My idea is to get out there and show we are a much more thoughtful and caring party than we have been in the past."

He'll now have that opportunity.

Focus on electoral reform referendum

Wilkinson's top pledge during the campaign was to fight the upcoming referendum on electoral reform, where British Columbians will be asked whether they want to move to some form of proportional representation.

"We have a lot of work to do. We have to fight back the NDP's idea of a payoff to the Green Party, which is proportional representation," he said, in his first statement to the media after his victory.

The wonky issue of electoral reform may seem like an odd choice for a main priority — Wilkinson himself admits "so far it's been a low-profile issue" — but the B.C. Liberals have always been a coalition of federal Liberals and Conservatives, making party unity harder to guarantee.
•B.C. government seeks public input on electoral reform referendum
•'It's a bad system': unlikely political allies fight proportional representation

"We are the party that must stay together. We cover the broad spectrum," said Wilkinson to members after his victory.

He was talking about the need for the caucus to unite. But it was also a reminder that, if electoral reform passes, that broad spectrum could split into separate political parties.

"So let's get ourselves organized, because we have work to do this summer," he said. "We have a challenge in front of us."

Fireworks in question period

In the short term, the legislature resumes sitting on Feb. 13, and Wilkinson looks to provide a stronger opposition than provided under the caretaker regime of interim Liberal leader Rich Coleman.

"My task is to make sure that we hold the NDP to account with smart, incisive questions that will make their skin crawl," he said.

"And I'm hoping that we make question period so newsworthy that you guys won't have to carry any other stories."

The next month, however, will have plenty of newsworthy moments outside of question period. A first NDP budget. The party's promise to bring in policies on housing affordability. Big decisions on the proposed Millennium Line and Surrey LRT extensions. Legislation on how marijuana will be regulated.

Wilkinson will find, like so many opposition leaders before him — including John Horgan — that keeping the public's attention while in opposition can be challenging.

But that's for another day. For now, Wilkinson can enjoy his victory and figure out, long-term, the best way to convince British Columbians what party members concluded: that ultimately, the B.C. Liberal Party needs no major change in philosophy.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( Dianne watts came close but her jump to provincial politics is looking rather pointless now unless she decides to run provincially anyways in the next election )

Andrew Wilkinson wins BC Liberal leadership on the fifth ballot


by NEWS 1130 Staff and The Canadian Press
Posted Feb 3, 2018 7:19 pm PST
Last Updated Feb 4, 2018 at 9:48 am PST

Wilkinson at the Sheraton Wall Centre Saturday, Feb. 3 just after learning he won the leadership race on the fifth ballot Hana Mae Nassar

Andrew Wilkinson won the BC Liberal leadership on the fifth ballot

The former Minister of Advanced Education narrowly defeated Dianne Watts with just more than 50 per cent of the vote

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It took five ballots, but Vancouver-Quilchena MLA Andrew Wilkinson has emerged as the

the BC Liberal leadership race.

The Australian-born Wilkinson was first elected in 2013 and briefly served as Attorney General before the fall of Premier Christy Clark’s government last year. He won with 53.11 per cent support or 4,621 votes.

In his victory speech, he made the customary call for party unity. “We will have to work together to bring our caucus together, to get together that momentum, to be ready for that first day in the Legislature on February 13th against the NDP,” he explained. “And I’ll tell you I am ready for them!”

He also made the case for keeping BC’s free enterprise coalition intact. “We are the party that must stay together. We cover the broad spectrum. So I hope that nobody in this room and nobody watching at home will ever say again, ‘Are you a federal Tory or a federal Liberal?’ Because we don’t care!”

Wilkinson says he’s now looking ahead to what’s next. “The priority of course is to make sure that these 40-odd people that’ll form our caucus are feeling completely united as this party moves ahead.”

Calling his fellow Liberals “family”, he admits now is the time to come together. Wilkinson vows to press the NDP on issues that matter the most to British Columbians. “My task is to make sure we hold the NDP to account with smart, incisive questions that will make their skin crawl.”

Other topics he plans to tackle include housing and affordability, which he says
affects people all across the province. “It’s a fundamental goal of the provincial government to make sure that people have enough money left in their pockets when the taxes have been taken off their paychecks so they can get ahead in life and they have that sense of optimism that British Columbia is where their future is.

“That’s our job. We’re going to push the NDP on affordability, and when we form government there’s going to be a whole package about affordable housing and there’s also going to be a package about prosperity across British Columbia and especially in the interior and on Vancouver Island because we want to win everywhere in BC.”

Former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts placed second with 4,079 votes. The 58-year-old was perceived as an outsider in the race. She left municipal politics in 2015 to run as a federal Conservative in South Surrey-White Rock. She last served as the Official Opposition Critic for Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour.

It was not a great night for former Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, who was the first candidate out of the race. His last place finish on the first ballot saw him gather just 158 votes.

Mike de Jong also fared poorly. The longest serving BC Liberal in the race, he was first elected to the Legislature in 1994. His last-place finish on the second ballot saw him gather 1,436 votes.

Former Transportation Minister Todd Stone fell out of the race after placing last on the third ballot. Rookie Vancouver-Langara MLA Michael Lee was next out, falling on the fourth ballot.

An estimated 60,000 party members were eligible to vote online and by phone to replace Christy Clark, who resigned after the New Democrats formed a minority government last summer, ending the Liberals 16 years in power.

The NDP was quick to offer kind words for to the new leader. In a statement, Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon says, “We offer our congratulations to Andrew Wilkinson on winning the leadership of the BC Liberals and look forward to seeing him in his new position in the Legislature.”

Premier John Horgan took to Twitter to congratulate the new Liberal party leader, saying he looks forward to working with him.

The Green Party also offered up their congratulations, with leader Andrew Weaver saying he looks “forward to collaborating with [Wilkinson] on issues of common ground.”

“One of our caucus’ key priorities in choosing a confidence and supply agreement over a coalition government was to ensure we could work with both parties to advance our shared priorities in the legislature,” reads Weaver’s statement. “I look forward to meeting with Andrew to discuss his priorities for the next legislative session and how we can collaborate on areas of common ground
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Andrew Wilkinson wins BC liberal leadership

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