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Wilkinson quits as B.C. Liberal leader before a replacement is chosen

In an earlier than expected announcement, Andrew Wilkinson quit before an interim leader was selected for the party.
Andrew Wilkinson during a campaign stop in Port Moody, Oct. 16, 2020
Andrew Wilkinson during a campaign stop in Port Moody, Oct. 16, 2020

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has announced he is stepping down as leader of the party.

On Oct. 26, Wilkinson had said he would stay on as leader until a replacement could be found, but in Saturday’s announcement — made in a Facebook post — his decision indicated he would step aside for an interim leader.

“It is now time for me to leave the role of Opposition Leader, as the voters of British Columbia have made their preference clear,” he wrote in the post.

British Columbia is an exciting place, full of dynamic people and so many opportunities. Taking on a leadership position...

Posted by Andrew Wilkinson on Saturday, November 21, 2020

The BC Liberals lost to their NDP counterparts by a landslide in the October snap election. A final tally from Elections BC shows the party with 28 seats secured, down from 43 seats won in the last provincial election.

The NDP won 57 seats while the BC Greens secured two.

Throughout the course of the campaign, Wilkinson came under fire for a lack of leadership, both from political opponents and his own party members. 

In one case, he was hammered by Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson for failing to manage what she described as transphobic comments made by several Liberal candidates. 

And following the election, former Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite, penned a scathing editorial of Wilkinson’s leadership in which she accused the former leader of throwing her “under the bus” after she made arguably sexist comments at a virtual roast for a fellow member of the party. 

“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,” wrote Wilkinson in his post signing off as leader. 

Wilkinson was elected as leader of the BC Liberal party in 2018, and was re-elected as MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena on Saturday.

No additional information was provided on when a new party leader might assume the role.