Saturday November 21, 2020 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson is stepping down to make way for an interim party leader. In a Facebook post today November 21, he changed his stance from staying on until a new leader is chosen, from leaving now.
The party is now slated to meet Monday to vote on an interim replacement.
Wilkinson initially announced his intention to resign on October 26, saying he was staying on until a new leader was selected. But today: “It is now time for me to leave the role of Opposition Leader, as the voters of British Columbia have made their preference clear.”
That was just two days after the October 24 provincial general election in which the BC Liberal party was decisively defeated by the BC NDP in a snap election (that was called by BC Premier John Horgan on September 21).
Newly elected BC MLAs are set to be sworn in this coming week, on Friday November 27.
An honour to serve in Opposition:
“Taking on a leadership position in the B.C. Legislature is an honour for anyone chosen for such a role, and it has been my honour to serve as Leader of the Opposition for almost three years,” he wrote.
“It is now time for me to leave the role of Opposition Leader, as the voters of British Columbia have made their preference clear. In doing so, I welcome the selection of an interim leader from our caucus and will fully support her or him as our caucus prepares to act as the Official Opposition once again.”
Downhill slide for the BC Liberals:
Wilkinson ran into some difficult snags in this fall’s election, including sexist remarks by a female candidate against a female candidate in another party, and challenges to his party’s stance on LGBTQ2 rights. One of his big-ticket promises — to offer one year of no provincial sales tax — showed an economic direction out of touch with today’s reality for most British Columbians, as well as jumping on the bandwagon (it seemed too late) to provide cost-contained child care.
In 2020, Wilkinson found himself up against the BC NDP orange wave that was firmly entrenched by this fall, after three years of changes in policy direction by the BC NDP under Horgan. Grounded primarily with a view to business-first (though saying the party was open to all), the BC Liberal party found itself out of step with the all-inclusive direction that things are going in society in general and in BC in particular.
Results of the October 24 (final results announced by Elections BC) are BC NDP 57 seats, BC Liberals 28 seats, Greens two seats.
===== Here is today’s full post by Andrew Wilkinson:
British Columbia is an exciting place, full of dynamic people and so many opportunities. Taking on a leadership position in the B.C. Legislature is an honour for anyone chosen for such a role, and it has been my honour to serve as Leader of the Opposition for almost three years.
All of us in the Legislature, regardless of political affiliation, are committed to making our province a better place for everyone. In an election, we offer our plans to the people of British Columbia, and they vote for the candidate and the party they prefer. In the recent election, the decision of the voters was clear – and I congratulate Premier John Horgan and his NDP colleagues on winning and forming the next Government of British Columbia. My colleagues and I will serve as the Official Opposition, holding the government to account, as the essential function of the Opposition is to pursue and ensure good governance on behalf of all the people of British Columbia.
Being the Leader of the Official Opposition is a challenging job but also one that is extremely rewarding. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the last few years as the leader of the BC Liberal Party, working with a dedicated team of elected members and with volunteers, candidates, and concerned citizens all throughout British Columbia. I want to thank all of those people for caring about our great province and for being involved in the political process.
It is now time for me to leave the role of Opposition Leader, as the voters of British Columbia have made their preference clear. In doing so, I welcome the selection of an interim leader from our caucus and will fully support her or him as our caucus prepares to act as the Official Opposition once again.
My past role, and the role of the new interim leader, requires a great deal of humility and a willingness to listen to people from all over B.C., to learn from them so that our work reflects the dreams and desires of the people of our province. Indigenous communities will need to be engaged as partners on projects and initiatives that will bring prosperity to everyone who lives here. That work must now be undertaken with renewed energy and commitment, so that our caucus and our party can fully reflect the views of everyone who calls this land their home, and work with them to provide a prosperous, respectful, and healthy future for everyone.
New conversations are happening about what is important to people now. Things like access to housing that works for the different ways that people live their lives. Affordable and efficient transportation and quality healthcare must be a priority for every government going forward. Equality and opportunity for everyone and protection of LGTBQ2S rights need to be integral parts of policies and plans throughout government, because these are fundamental to the fairness and equality that we all seek.
Our party, the interim leader, and our members have a lot of work to do. We need to rebuild and renew – and that starts with tough conversations and sincere reflections. I know I’ve had many of those myself in recent weeks and I know there are many more to come for all of us as we work toward a leadership race that will define our new leader, and our positions and profile heading into the next election.
There are still many conversations to have about how we can do better. Some of those conversations are taking place right now, some of them publicly. I can confidently say that I did my best for our team and for British Columbia, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve our province and all of the people who consider this great place their home.