FORMER minister and MLA Andrew Wilkinson is the new BC Liberal Party Leader.
Wilkinson garnered 4,621 points in the fifth and final round, defeating former Conservative MP and former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts who won 4,079 points.
MLA Michael Lee was eliminated in the fourth round in which Watts got 3,006 points (34.55 per cent) and Wilkinson won 2,862 points (32.89 per cent), while Lee garnered 2,813 points (32.56 per cent).
Watts had also led in the third round with 2,469 votes – 28.38 per cent of the total votes, with Lee coming second with 2,264 points (26.03 per cent) and Wilkinson coming third with 2,201 points (25.29 per cent). Former minister and MLA Todd Stone was last with 1,766 points (20.29 per cent) and got eliminated.
DERMOD Travis, Executive Director of IntegrityBC, later pointed out some very interesting facts about the election in a column:
* Sam Sullivan placed fourth in his own riding of Vancouver-False Creek on the first ballot, but even more surprising Andrew Wilkinson came second in his riding of Vancouver-Quilchena behind Michael Lee.
* Rich Coleman’s endorsement of Mike de Jong didn’t help much in Coleman’s riding of Langley East where de Jong placed a distant second to Dianne Watts.
* Michael Lee bested Watts in six of the nine Surrey ridings on the first ballot, while Wilkinson took five of the nine on the final ballot.
* Although the Liberals claimed 60,000 members, on the first ballot, the six competitors shared 30,775 votes between them.
THE NDP in a statement by Ravi Kahlon, MLA for Delta North, said:
“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.
“Right now, the stakes couldn’t be higher for British Columbians.
“People are counting on us to make life more affordable, protect the services they count on and keep investing in a sustainable economy.
“Our government has made great strides towards these goals, but major challenges—like the dumpster fire at ICBC — still remain.
“We look forward to working with you on legislation that works for all the people of this great province.”
GREEN Party Leader Andrew Weaver said in a statement:
“I extend my sincere congratulations to Andrew on his election as leader of the B.C. Liberal Party
“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. 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.”
IN a special piece to The VOICE on January 26, this is what Wilkinson wrote:
I’M ready to lead the BC Liberal Party because I am:
* A leader who is ready to roll up his sleeves and do the hard work to rebuild the BC Liberal Party
* The right person to keep our free-enterprise coalition strong in the legislature
* The only candidate that will be ready on Day One to take on John Horgan in the legislature
* We have some great candidates running to lead the BC Liberal Party, but I believe my unique mix of real life experience, education and dedication to free-enterprise makes me the best choice to lead the party.
* I understand B.C.: I was a small-town doctor before becoming a lawyer and civil servant. I know the issues and want to find solutions.
* I have party roots: As Party President, I worked with Gordon Campbell to unite the BC Liberals in the late 1990’s – leading to a 77-2 victory in 2001.
* I have broad support: 13 MLA’s have come out to endorse and support me to be leader of the BC Liberal team. Team Wilkinson has more MLA’s on-board than all other candidates.