MLA Andrew Wilkinson weighs B.C. Liberal leadership bid

Vancouver-Quilchena MLA Andrew Wilkinson says party needs to ‘regroup’ after losing power, leader.

Vancouver-Qulichena member among first to acknowledge interest in replacing Christy Clark

B.C. Liberal MLA Andrew Wilkinson says the next party leader needs support from across the province. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC News)

The B.C. Liberals are looking for a new leader, and MLA Andrew Wilkinson is among the first to declare he is considering a bid for the job.

Wilkinson, who was first elected in 2013 in Vancouver-Quilchena, told On the Coast guest host Richard Zussman he hasn't decided yet whether to seek the leadership.

"The Liberal Party will make the rules for the leadership process later in August," Wilkinson said.

"People then have to make a lot of phone calls around the province to see if they have an appropriate level of support, to see if they can pull together the kind of funding that's necessary for these efforts.

"It will probably be going for a few months."

Province-wide support essential

Wilkinson said any viable leadership candidate will require support across the province because each of the 87 electoral districts has equal weight in the leadership vote. 

An understanding of all regions is also important for the next leader, Wilkinson said, "so they can purport to govern for all British Columbians."

"I've been lucky that I've lived all over British Columbia and Kamloops and spent time working as a young doctor in places like Dease Lake and Lillooet, so I have a pretty good feel for the province," he said. 

On June 11, 2017 Justice Minister Andrew Wilkinson was sworn in and served briefly as attorney-general and minister of justice, 18 days before the Liberals were defeated on a confidence vote in the Legislature. (Richard Zussman/CBC News)

Wilkinson has served as minister of advanced education and minister of technology, innovation and citizens' services. He was appointed attorney general and minister of justice less than three weeks before the Liberal government fell on a confidence vote on June 29. 

Jas Johal, another MLA who has expressed interest in the leadership, has said the party needs major policy renewal.

Wilkinson agreed voters indicated as much on May 9: "We saw in the last election the sentiments of  British Columbians have shifted, and they exercised that through their votes." 

Party policy must adapt

"It's up to any political party to listen to the electorate and to adapt to circumstances and to come up with new and forward-looking and positive approaches."

Meanwhile, Wilkinson appeared to take issue with Vancouver-False Creek MLA Sam Sullivan, another potential leadership rival, who has said the party needs an urban agenda. 

"There is this kind of false dichotomy between urban and rural," Wilkinson said.