Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson talks provincial politics in 2018
Published Tuesday, December 25, 2018 4:27PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 25, 2018 7:02PM PST
When you're the Opposition leader, it's your job to question every move the government makes.
And when you're new to the role like Andrew Wilkinson is, you also need to show people who you are.
"I was told initially that I was aloof, and I thought, well, that's way better than being dumb or lazy or any of those things, so you have to take your credit where you can," the Liberal leader told CTV News in a sit-down interview about his first year in the role.
Wilkinson, who previously served as attorney general and justice minister, is both a doctor and a lawyer, leaving little room for doubt when it comes to his intelligence.
But after becoming party leader, he needed to prove his political prowess, so he went on the attack—constantly challenging John Horgan's NDP on a plethora of policies and campaign promises.
"The $400 rebate per year for renters because they realized they'd have to pay it to millionaires as well as to people who are struggling," Wilkinson said. "There's also the issue of the $10-a-day daycare, which they call 'a slogan' now."
The Liberals, however, are dogged by their own record on issues including housing affordability, money laundering and ICBC's dire financial situation—issues the NDP says were neglected during the Liberals' 16 years in power.
"I think people are kind of frustrated generally about things like housing affordability," Wilkinson said.
In 2018, the Liberals re-branded, also admitting the party fell short on issues like affordability.
But Wilkinson takes pains to say it's now time to examine the current government's record.
"The NDP said during the election they would build 115,000 housing units and so far, they've put together 2,000 or 3,000 modular housing units—which are basically stacked up containers—for the benefit of homeless people," he said. "That's a good thing, but it does nothing for the average citizen of British Columbia who's looking for a place to live."
And with drivers now bracing for even higher insurance premiums next year, the Liberal leader said he wants to do things differently.
"Maybe it's time to look at a co-op model. Maybe it's time to make it a mutual insurance company that's owned by the policy holders, that is removed from government," he said.
Earlier this month, ICBC announced it would apply for a 6.3-per-cent increase to basic premiums as the public auto insurer tries to recover from a forecasted $1 billion deficit.
And with the scandal that saw Legislative Assemble Clerk Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz suspended amid a criminal investigation still swirling, Wilkinson denied that his government house leader failed to ask the right questions in the initial meeting.
"It quickly turned into a farce with this Mr. Mullen saying that he was investigating," he said. "The whole thing smelled really badly by the Wednesday afternoon, two days after the first meeting."
Instead, Wilkinson once again puts the blame on the NDP.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan