Andrew Wilkinson will be the next leader of the BC Liberals

The Liberal party of BC has a new leader, Andrew Wilkinson. 

In a very close race Wilkinson pulled off the victory in the 5th ballot with 53 per cent of the vote defeating former South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts.  He will be replacing Christy Clark who was defeated by a non-confidence vote last summer. 

This race came down to a fight between the outsider’s, former mayors of Vancouver and South-Surrey White Rock, Sullivan and Watts - and longtime Clarke cabinet members Stone, de Jong, and Wilkinson. 

In Vancouver there were five ballots taken in the process to determine the next Liberal, after each vote one more candidate would be eliminated.  Sam Sullivan was eliminated on the first ballot, collecting only 1.82 per cent of the vote.  Mike De Jong, the former finance minister was eliminated on the second ballot with 16.51 per cent of the vote.  Thought to be a front runner early on, he had faced criticism for his fiscal policies as finance minister.  

Todd Stone was eliminated on the third ballot, with 20.29 per cent of the vote.  It was a tight race throughout but it started to get exciting on the 4th ballot.  Michael Lee was eliminated with 32.56 per cent of the vote just barely behind Wilkinson's 32.89 per cent.  Lee, a Vancouver-based lawyer who was elected to the legislature in May, was the only candidate without cabinet or mayoral experience. 

Watts was leading throughout the first 4 ballots only to lose to Wilkinson who made an impressive come from behind victory. 

It is estimated the 60,000 party members were eligible to vote in the leadership race.  The next provincial election will be held in 2021. 

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