Skeena BC Liberal MLA Ellis Ross has thrown his support behind a Vancouver BC Liberal MLA to be the next leader of the BC Liberal party.
Andrew Wilkinson, a lawyer and doctor first elected to represent the Vancouver-Quilchena riding in 2013, is the best choice of the six people running to replace former B.C. premier Christy Clark who stepped down in the summer, says Ross.
“He kept coming back to me and every time he came back he’d explain to me some of the difficulties of what we had talked about,” said Ross.
“And he didn’t promise anything. He didn’t gloss anything over.”
From that Ross, continued, he became impressed with Wilkinson, adding he’d be the best person to lead the party, in preparation to someday lead the government.
As a doctor, Wilkinson worked in Dease Lake and so knows the northwest and its issues, Ross said.
“He’s also worked in other parts of the world and I was impressed with what he knew. He just didn’t talk off the top of his head,” Ross added.
“As an urbanite, he’s very aware of the issues that are important to rural people.”
One of those issues of importance to rural B.C. is the NDP/Green government push for proportional representation, an election method which could take away seats from rural and northern B.C., said Ross.
Wilkinson is as opposed to the idea as he is, Ross continued.
Ross also noted that Wilkinson was the BC Liberal advanced education minister at the time the financing was announced for the extensive renovation of the trades building at Northwest Community College’s Terrace campus which is currently underway.
Overall, Ross said he was looking forward to the conclusion of the leadership race, saying it was taking time and energy away from the main task of holding the NDP/Green government accountable.
“There are many issues here and we’ve got to get moving. We’ve got to hit the ground running.”
Ross has joined John Rustad, the BC Liberal MLA for the Nechako Lakes riding and former aboriginal relations and reconciliation minister in previous BC Liberal governments, as two northern BC Liberal MLAs to back Wilkinson.
There are now 12 BC Liberal MLAs backing Wilkinson’s bid.
Wilkinson served as the advanced education minister in past BC Liberal governments and was the attorney general in the short-lived BC Liberal minority government which was replaced by the current NDP-Green alliance following May’s provincial election.
Eight candidates began vying for support for their leadership bids this fall, the winner to be announced next February.
In addition to Wilkinson, Mike de Jong, Michael Lee, Todd Stone, Sam Sullivan and Dianne Watts are still in the race, with two candidates having dropped out – Mike Bernier and Terrace resident Lucy Sager.