New B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson (left) shakes Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick’s hand back in December when he came to Kelowna to receive Letnick’s backing for his leadership race bid.—Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Wilkinson wins backing of local Liberals

New B.C. Liberal leader no stranger to two Central Okanagan MLAs and to Liberal candidate

New B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson is being praised as a man with the skills and abilities to lead the party back to power by Kelowna’s two sitting MLAs and the Liberal candidate running in the Kelowna West byelection.

Steve Thomson and Ben Stewart predicted Wilkinson will do a good job as leader, especially getting out and talking to rural British Columbians about their needs.

“He had strong regional support (in the leadership race) and he’s a very smart, engaging guy,” said Thomson, who sat in cabinet with Wilkinson when both men were ministers in the former B.C. Liberal government.

While Thomson did not support Wilkinson in the leadership race—he supported Todd Stone—he said he considers the new Liberal leader a good friend who works well with others and can pull the party together after its ouster from power last summer in a vote of non-confidence by the NDP and B.C Greens.

That fall from political grace after 16 years came following May’s vote that saw the Liberals won by a razor thin margin, losing what had been a healthy majority of seats. Left in a minority position in the B.C. legislature, it could not fend off the NDP/Green challenge.

Candidate Ben Stewart, a former Kelowna West MLA, did not serve in government with Wilkinson but said he first met him in 1999 when Wilkinson was policy chair for the party and also worked with him more recently when Stewart was B.C.’s special trade representative in Asia and Wilkinson was advanced education minister.

“He’s a very bright guy, with lots of ideas,” said Stewart, who did not endorse any candidate for the party leadership. “He’s a very clear and precise thinker.”

Wilkinson is a medical doctor and a lawyer, in addition to being a politician.

Kelowna’s other MLA, Norm Letnick of Kelowna-Lake Country, supported Wilkinson in the leadership race.

When he announced he was supporting Wilkinson, Letnick said he chose the Vancouver-area MLA because of his extensive knowledge and grasp of issues, his ability to build consensus and his ideas for the future of the party and B.C. Letnick is currently travelling out of the country.

Both Thomson and Stewart said Wilkinson has a vision of where he wants to see the party go and predicted the B.C. Liberal Party will be different under him than it was under both former leaders Christy Clark and Gordon Campbell.

“All leaders are different, they bring different things to the table,” said Thomson.

Wilkinson will visit the Kelowna West riding this week, said Stewart, to help him campaign in the final stretch of the byelection race. The byelection will go Feb. 14.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



awaters@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UBC Okanagan men’s volleyball falls to WolfPack

The Heat’s Brennan Goski closed his career to graduate in spring

UBC Okanagan Heat volleyball players close out career

The 3 volleyball stars will graduate in spring

Coyotes baseball team opens season in Las Vegas

The team will play 14 games in 12 days

A new name for Rutland? A social media post sparks debate

It seems the name of the Kelowna neighbourhood is a hot topic

Okanagan College boasts second LEED Platinum award

The college earned it’s second award for the new trades building in Kelowna

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Summerland’s Justin Kripps wins bobsleigh world cup event

Canadian team picks up their first four-man bobsleigh win on the world cup circuit

Most Read