Wilkinson steps down as BC Liberal leader

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson is stepping down as soon as his successor is chosen.

This followed Saturday's election where the BC Liberals lost about a dozen seats.

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Wilkinson made the announcement Monday afternoon, giving a brief minute-long statement and taking no questions from the media.

BC Liberal candidate Alexa Loo told the Richmond News earlier on Monday that she didn't expect Wilkinson to be leading the party over the next few years.

Loo said she had confidence in Wilkinson while running in the provincial election – whose outcome is still not clear in the riding she ran in, Richmond South Centre – but she criticized how her party’s messages were conveyed, for example, the benefit of cutting the PST.

“Andrew Wilkinson is a smart guy and I think he cares about people – somehow that didn’t come through,” Loo said.

Furthermore, Loo said people conflated the successful pandemic response to Premier John Horgan while it was a cross-party effort to combat COVID-19 and its impacts.

“We must have done a bad job explaining (that),” Loo said.

In her riding, Loo received 124 fewer votes than the NDP candidate Henry Yao, but with thousands of mail-in ballots uncounted, that result might change. In Richmond South Centre, 5,925 mail-in ballots were requested, according to Elections BC.

After losing what appears to be about 12 seats in the legislature, BC Liberals need to focus on the economy and the environment and become a “values-based” party, Loo said, with inclusivity, the economy, the environment and B.C’s role as a global player as the focus.

She said it’s time to get rid of social conservative elements in the party. During the campaign, Chilliwack-Kent BC Liberal candidate Laurie Throness was removed from the party after he compared free birth control to eugenics.

“We should be something that people come to, not that people fit into,” Loo said.

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