Andrew Wilkinson steps down as B.C. Liberal leader before successor chosen

VANCOUVER — The leader of British Columbia's Liberal party is stepping down before his successor is chosen, following last month's election that saw Premier John Horgan's NDP win a decisive majority government.

Andrew Wilkinson announced earlier he would quit the party's top job as soon as a replacement was selected, but today he announced in a Facebook post that it's time for him to leave the role after close to three years.

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He says he welcomes the selection of an interim leader by the party's caucus as it looks to rebuild and renew, starting with what Wilkinson called "tough conversations and sincere reflections."

The election on Oct. 24 saw the NDP win 57 of 87 seats, while the Liberals won 28 and the Greens held two.

The B.C. legislature is set to return Dec. 7 for a brief session beginning with a throne speech focused on keeping people safe and the economy moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wilkinson says the party is working toward a leadership race that will define its positions and profile heading into the next election.

The Liberals' faced criticism during the snap election campaign this fall, as a candidate who later quit the party compared free contraception to eugenics, while another was heard making sexist remarks about an NDP candidate.

Wilkinson will remain in the legislature as the member for Vancouver-Quilchena, the riding he has represented since 2013.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2020.

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