More trouble for BC Liberals: Wilkinson heard downplaying scandal in leaked audio
VANCOUVER -- In leaked audio from a call with current and departing BC Liberal MLAs, outgoing leader Andrew Wilkinson is heard defending his campaign while also downplaying a sexism controversy that may have cost one of his candidates her seat.
Bob Mackin from TheBreaker.news obtained audio from the Zoom call that took place last week. In it, Wilkinson is heard saying the Liberals' platform was good, and strong.
“I never heard any complaints about the platform, either content or lack of stuff in it, or lack of substance," he says.
Later, Jane Thornthwaite’s comments about NDP MLA Bowinn Ma were brought up. Wilkinson responds by saying he spoke to her during “the fuss.”
“In this role, you can be skewered for the most trivial thing. In today’s media world, it’s just fundamentally unfair, the fact that those remarks got out was a big problem.”
Yet it was Wilkinson who was the one who threw Thornthwaite under the bus. For days, he didn’t face the media. When he finally did, he didn’t hold back.
“It was abundantly clear by the end of the call that she had made a little bit of a fool of herself," he said during the campaign. He also said in “hindsight” he should’ve done better as he apologized. Thornthwaite also offered an apology to Ma. She is currently trailing in her riding and CTV News is projecting the NDP candidate will win.
CTV News asked Wilkinson to comment. He opted not to.
For the NDP’s Katrina Chen, who CTV News projects will be re-elected in Burnaby-Lougheed, it's about a pattern of casual sexism in politics.
“It’s not about one individual or one incident, it’s about a bigger problem the Liberal party has in their caucus, it’s about an issue that we face in politics as women. We need diverse representation," Chen said.
Chen, who is close with Ma, believes her party has done a better job of dealing with sexism and beefing up the services people needed. She thinks the Liberals failed to connect.
Last Monday, Wilkinson announced he was quitting his job after the party's poor showing in the election. His remarks that lasted less than two minutes and he took no questions. One week later, the executive director of the party is also stepping down.
In a tweet, Emile Scheffel said he wasn’t sure what’s ahead but that he wants to advance mental health in politics. He led the party through by-elections, leadership races, and this last campaign.
The Liberals lost more than a dozen seats in the Oct. 26 provincial election. The campaign was rocked by several candidate controversies.
On the caucus call, Wilkinson is also heard saying he hopes the comments don’t get out, reminding others, “we’re supposed to be a loyal caucus.”