Monday, 15 July, 2019

Watts leads in the third round as well, Stone is eliminated

Clovechok picked a winner     Andrew Wilkinson wins BC Liberal leadership
    Carolyn GrantFeb. 5 2018 11:17 Clovechok picked a winner Andrew Wilkinson wins BC Liberal leadership Carolyn GrantFeb. 5 2018 11:17
Patty Aguilar | 08 February, 2018, 16:37

It took five ballots, but Vancouver-Quilchena MLA Andrew Wilkinson has emerged as the victor of the BC Liberal leadership race.

It was a victory of the status quo over renewal for the party, an impression Wilkinson reinforced by using his first remarks to cite the legacies of former BC Liberal premiers Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark.

Former Conservative MP and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts finished in second place after leading all ballots leading up to the final announcement.

"That is the heritage we have to build on as a party", said Wilkinson, to a ballroom of Liberal supporters at the Wall Centre in Vancouver.

MLA Michael Lee continued to be second with 2,264 points (26.03 per cent).

He won with just over 53 per cent support after the final round of vote counting, while Watts had just under 47 per cent. Watts led the contest after four rounds of voting.

The B.C. Liberal party is not affiliated with the federal Liberals.

Mike De Jong also fared poorly.

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Wilkinson, 60, a doctor, lawyer and Rhodes Scholar, said the Liberals must unite and never forget the achievements of Clark and Campbell.

He served in a number of cabinet positions, among them attorney general, minister of advanced education, and minister of technology and innovation.

The Australian-born Wilkinson was first elected in 2013 and briefly served as Attorney General before the fall of Premier Christy Clark's government previous year.

David Moscrop, a political theorist at Simon Fraser University, said the Liberals chose a new leader who appealed to their fiscal sensibilities and underlying belief the party brand will bring them back to power.

Wilkinson said Saturday he is looking forward to debating the New Democrats in the legislature and asking questions to make "their skin crawl".

He said he was looking forward to facing the NDP in the legislature, pushing for a win in the Kelowna-West by-election set for February 14 and opposing changing the voting system in a referendum planned for next fall. "Major challenges - like the dumpster fire at ICBC - still remain".

"So let's get ourselves organized because we have work to do this summer", he said.

During a "Whistle Stop" tour of the Kootenays, BC Liberal leadership hopeful Andrew Wilkinson told the partisan audience he was the person to take on John Horgan of the NDP as the next leader of the BC Liberal Party.

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