British Columbia

Veteran MLA Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of the B.C. Liberal Party

Six-term MLA and former cabinet minister Shirley Bond has been chosen interim leader of the B.C. Liberal Party, the party announced Monday.

Bond has been MLA for Prince George-Valemount for 19 years

Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount, pictured in 2013. Bond has been chosen interim leader of the B.C. Liberal Party.

Six-term MLA and former cabinet minister Shirley Bond has been chosen as interim leader of the B.C. Liberal Party, replacing former leader Andrew Wilkinson.

The Liberal caucus voted Monday for Bond to be leader until a leadership campaign can be held.

"I appreciate the confidence and trust my colleagues have placed in me as we work together to hold John Horgan and the NDP government to account in the coming months," Bond said in a statement released by the party.

"I want to thank Andrew Wilkinson for his service as leader over the past several years and I look forward to continuing to work with him and our entire team of new and returning MLAs to present a positive vision for this province."

Wilkinson announced Saturday he would now be stepping aside to make room for new leadership. He initially resigned two days after the party had its worst provincial election outcome in a generation on Oct. 24, but at that time, he did not say when his resignation would be made official.

MLAs Shirley Bond, centre, and Andrew Wilkinson, left, speak during a news conference following the budget speech from the legislative assembly at the legislature in Victoria on Feb. 19, 2019. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

Bond has been MLA for Prince-George Valemount since 2001. She became B.C.'s first female attorney general in 2011 and has previously served in at least five different ministerial roles.

She won her sixth term on Oct. 24 with 56 per cent of the vote in her riding, beating NDP candidate Laura Parent and Green candidate MacKenzie Kerr.

B.C. Premier John Horgan congratulated Bond in a tweet after the caucus vote.

"As an MLA since 2001, she has an incredible amount of experience. Looking forward to working with her in her role as leader of the opposition to support British Columbians through the pandemic and beyond," Horgan wrote.

Bond replied in her own tweet to say her appointment is "truly an honour."

Wilkinson has not yet commented.

MLAs will be sworn in at the B.C. Legislature later this week.

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