B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson thanks supporters in Vancouver, joined by MLAs and his wife Barbara Grantham (right). (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Andrew Wilkinson won big in rural B.C. to clinch B.C. Liberal leadership

Strong showing by Michael Lee helped defeat Dianne Watts

Painted by the NDP opposition as an upper-crust lawyer from Vancouver’s wealthy West Side, Andrew Wilkinson built his strongest B.C. Liberal leadership support in pickup-truck land, in the Kootenays, Cariboo, rural Vancouver Island and Northern B.C.

A constituency breakdown of voting by B.C. Liberal Party members shows Wilkinson piled up points across the province, including remote regions where he worked as a doctor early in his career. He made the most of the party’s weighted voting system, which gave each of the province’s 87 constituencies 100 points to balance out the urban population concentration in the south.

Wilkinson’s agreement with Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong also helped him over the top. Both urged their supporters to make the other their second choice, and Wilkinson benefited when de Jong was dropped from the ballot after round two.

One of the surprises of the leadership vote was the strength of rookie Vancouver-Langara MLA Michael Lee, who surpassed Wilkinson in his own seat of Vancouver-Quilchena in first-choice votes on a ranked ballot of six leadership contenders.

Lee also led former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts in Surrey-Fleetwood, Surrey-Green Timbers, Surrey-Guildford, Surrey-Newton and Surrey-Panorama. Watts, who represented South Surrey-White Rock as a Conservative MP before resigning her seat to run for the provincial leadership, won Surrey South, Surrey-White Rock and Surrey Cloverdale.

RELATED: Wilkinson’s winning margin, with video

During the leadership campaign, Wilkinson made much of his Kamloops roots as an immigrant from Australia, where he lived as a child. But MLA Todd Stone owned his Kamloops-South Thompson seat, winning more than 90 per cent of the vote, and more than 80 per cent in Kamloops-North Thompson.

In his acceptance speech, the 60-year-old Wilkinson acknowledged the work of Lee and Stone to attract a new generation.

“Our job is to get out there and make ourselves more attractive to youth, with a broader environmental message that points out that British Columbia has benefited from the B.C. Liberal track record on the Great Bear Rainforest,” Wilkinson said. “We did the climate action plan, we’re going to have an attractive program of wildlife management to show British Columbians is a strong environmental jurisdiction.”

Just Posted

Retro meets modern design with idea for iconic Paramount sign

Proposed Paramount Project plans for downtown Chilliwack unveiled Monday

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Flight Fest to take off in Chilliwack once again

After a year-long break, Flight Fest is returning to the Chilliwack airport

Column: Golf about to modernize rule book

A series of changes taking effect in the new year aim to make the game friendlier for all ages.

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

B.C. gangster charged after man allegedly beaten with a golf club

Langley man facing aggravated assault charge after incident allegedly involved golf club and machete

Are you Canada’s next Masterchef?

Home cooks looking to follow their cuisine dreams can apply now.

Regional climate adaptation agriculture testing to expand in B.C.

Ottawa funds farm projects to conserve water, remove invasive species

VIDEO: B.C. RCMP officers excel in Amazing Race Canada Heroes Edition

Courtney and Taylor Callens have become the team to beat

Most Read