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Former B.C. Liberal leader vacating seat to make room for new leader, Kevin Falcon

The former leader of the B.C. Liberals is stepping aside to give the newly elected leader a chance to join the legislature, CTV News Vancouver has learned.

Andrew Wilkinson stepped down as the party's leader after losing the provincial election in 2020. On Saturday, Kevin Falcon, a former cabinet minister who’d left politics for the private sector for several years, won the party leadership, but is not currently a member of the legislature.

"I will be resigning my seat in Vancouver-Quilchena in the near future because I think it’s essential to the leader to run a by-election," Wilkinson said.

The seat is one of the safest for the Liberal Party and it’s common practice for a sitting MLA to offer their seat to a leader who doesn’t currently hold a riding. In 2013, Christy Clark didn’t win her Vancouver-Point Grey seat despite becoming premier, and had to displace a Westside-Kelowna member of the legislature to secure her position.

CTV News asked if he was volunteering his seat or was being pressured to do so, and Wilkinson insisted it was his choice and his duty.

"Any good member of a party as an elected official realizes the interest of the party take precedence and so when Kevin was chosen as the leader on Saturday, I knew my first task was to support him entirely and to offer my seat to him and he's taken it," he said in his first public remarks since acknowledging defeat in the 2020 election.

Despite losing an election that’s now seen John Horgan as one of the longest-serving New Democrat premiers in B.C. history, Wilkinson was upbeat about what comes next.

"We’re into an era of great optimism in the party and a real energy and I’m excited for the future prospects of the B.C. Liberals in the election," he said.

Wilkinson, who has worked as a lawyer and had been a practicing doctor but let his medical licence lapse when he was first elected in 2013, was coy when asked whether this was the end of his political career, saying "never say never."


Falcon addressed journalists on Monday following a caucus meeting, thanking Wilkinson for leaving the legislature and vacating his seat to make room for the new leader in a by-election; it’s not clear when the vote could happen, but the former cabinet minister is confident he’ll be a member of the legislative assembly again soon.

In the meantime, Falcon said Shirley Bond will continue to be Opposition Leader in the house and he named his former leadership challengers to critic portfolios, insisting that despite a sometimes acrimonious leadership race that even saw an eleventh-hour court challenge, the party is already coming together.

"One of the things that makes me feel so happy today is the unanimity that was shown as we had our first caucus meeting with me as the leader of the BC Liberal party," Falcon told reporters.

He’s already pondering a name change and overall rebranding of the party, but pledged that it would be driven by an inclusive and forward-thinking ethos tackling the many issues challenging the province, from mental health and addictions to climate change and affordable childcare.

Falcon was also bullish when asked about the NDP’s attacks against him highlighting his deep ties and involvement with the Liberal administrations of the past; the party has now lost two consecutive elections after 16 years in power.

"Bring it on," he said. "They can talk about baggage, but I can tell you I’m quite happy to talk about our record…I accept the good with the bad. I accept we weren’t a perfect government and some of the decisions made, frankly, when I wasn’t apart of government, I wasn’t happy with, too." Top Stories

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