Bill Barisoff (left) endorsed B.C. Liberal leadership contender Mike de Jong in an announcement Monday morning, making Barisoff, a former Penticton MLA, the 15th major endorsement for de Jong. Submitted photo

Former Penticton MLA endorses de Jong for leadership

Bill Barisoff announced his endorsement of Mike de Jong for B.C. Liberal leadership Monday morning

A retired South Okanagan MLA and former Speaker of the B.C. Legislature is tossing his two cents into the B.C. Liberal leadership race, with an endorsement of Mike de Jong.

Bill Barisoff, born in Oliver, represented the Okanagan-Boundary, Penticton-Okanagan Valley and Penticton ridings between 1996 and 2013, before retiring.

Barisoff announced Monday morning he would be endorsing de Jong for B.C. Liberal leadership, which is set for a vote in early February.

Related: De Jong touts track record in Liberal leadership bid

“He’s the kind of leader we need — and he is ready to lead on his first day on the job. He doesn’t need any time to get ready — he’s ready now,” Barisoff said in a news release. “I worked with Mike and I know he can take the fight to John Horgan and the NDP, and he can begin the critical work needed to renew the party and get ready to win the next election.”

Current Penticton MLA Dan Ashton declined to name his preference for the leadership vote during a year-end interview with the Western News last month.

Related: 2017 roundup: Ashton talks election and Indigenous relations

Barisoff served as Minister of Provincial Revenue and Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection before being named Speaker in 2005. He is the second-longest serving Speaker in B.C. history.

“I sat with Mike in Opposition and I sat with him in government. There’s no one better to make full use of the Legislature to keep the NDP’s feet to the fire and to make sure we renew the B.C. Liberal Party,” he said.

“Mike not only knows how to deliver balanced budgets, he has a vision about investing more in education, in healthcare and in affordability to make sure people feel the benefits of the strong economy we build.”

In the news release, de Jong staff pointed to a list of 15 “Team de Jong members,” who have come out in favour of the candidate, including former cabinet minister Mike Bernier, former Kelowna-Lake Country MLA and former Okanagan Centre member of Parliament Al Horning.

B.C. Liberals will be holding a convention to vote on the new leader, with the winner set to be announced on Feb. 3.

Just Posted

Poke bowl frenzy is coming to Kelowna

Pacific Poke opens Downtown this July

First annual BE Awards celebrate Thompson Okanagan Businesses

Kelowna businesses shine in several categories

Kelowna RCMP investigating car accident

The car is believed to have been travelling 150 km/hr

The new event will allow kids to take part in Across the Lake Swim

A new free event just for kids will leave their hearts and… Continue reading

Planned power outage upsets Kelowna neighbourhood

Some Toovey Heights residents claim no advance notice given by FortisBC

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

New craft brewery location chosen in Kelowna

Rustic Reel Brewing says it will produce beer at new location on Vaughan Avenue

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of Vancouver Island couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

It may be ‘lights, camera, action!’ for talented B.C. doctor

Rob Forde is waiting to hear if he’ll become The Basement Doctor in his own reality show

Police find capsized boat near Tofino, 3 men still missing

Five men were aboard the boat when it sank off Vancouver Island early Monday morning

Most Read