Andrew Wilkinson brought his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership to Vernon Wednesday. (Black Press file photo)

Wilkinson brings leadership bid to Vernon

Andrew Wilkinson insists he’s the person to renew the B.C. Liberal Party.

Wilkinson, MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena, was in Vernon Wednesday as part of his bid to take over the helm of the party from Christy Clark.

“It’s a time for rebuilding of the party,” he said, referring to the party gaining minority government status in the spring election but then losing power to the NDP and Greens through parliamentary procedures.

“We have to do a lot of listening so we can do better. It’s a matter of sitting down with 87 ridings across the province. It’s a matter of listening to people and what their priorities are.”

Among the issues being raised are affordability and economic conditions in communities.

“People are worried about their future,” said Wilkinson.

He is also hearing concern about the NDP’s plans for electoral reform and a shift to proportional representation from the current first-past-the-post system.

“Once people hear what the NDP are up to, they are quite annoyed. It (proportional representation) leads to unstable, minority governments.”

Wilkinson most recently served as justice minister, but he has also been minister of advanced education and technology and innovation. He also served as deputy minister for intergovernmental relations for two years and was president of the B.C. Liberal Party from 1998 to 2001.

He is currently among eight candidates for the party leadership. The others are Michael de Jong, Sam Sullivan, Lucy Sager, Dianne Watts, Todd Stone, Mike Bernier and Michael Lee.

“There is a very capable field of candidates. It’s good for the party to have so many qualified candidates,” he said, adding that he is confident about his campaign.

“I want to be a leader for all of B.C. I have a broad knowledge of this province. I want to make sure the next generation has the same opportunities we had.”

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