B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson addresses party convention in Vancouver, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. (Facebook)

Andrew Wilkinson rallies party as B.C. referendum, byelection approach

B.C. Liberals have more MLAs, less money than ruling NDP

Andrew Wilkinson’s first party convention as B.C. Liberal leader comes at a key time for the opposition, trying to defeat a referendum the party sees as eroding their Liberal-Conservative coalition and tilting the province towards their opponents’ urban base.

Wilkinson also aims to take a stronghold seat in Nanaimo, held by the NDP since 2005, in a byelection that could tighten an already thin margin for the minority NDP government in Victoria.

At the convention at a downtown Vancouver hotel Saturday, the party had a “referendum rally” with a lineup of speakers targeting the method and choices of the proportional representation referendum designed by the NDP and B.C. Green Parties.

Wilkinson began his speech by crediting former premier Christy Clark and Skeena MLA Ellis Ross for his work as Haisla chief councillor in laying the groundwork for the LNG Canada export facility planned for Kitimat.

Premier John Horgan has said he will call a by-election for Nanaimo by January, after a long-time NDP MLA Leonard Krog resigning his seat to take up his new job as Nanaimo mayor, which he is expected to do soon. His departure brings the standings in the legislature to 42 B.C. Liberal seats, 40 held by the NDP and three for the B.C. Greens.

Speaker Darryl Plecas sits as an independent, expelled from the B.C. Liberals for standing for the job and cementing the NDP minority government. If the B.C. Liberals win the Nanaimo seat, Plecas would be required to cast deciding votes if only one NDP or Green MLA is unavailable.

The B.C. Liberals find themselves in the unaccustomed position of not only being opposition, but falling behind the NDP in the new era of personal-only political donations.

The B.C. NDP raised $1.26 million from individual donations in the first six months of 2018, nearly double the take of the B.C. Liberals in the same period.

The B.C. Liberal Party total was $748,000, and the B.C. Green Party took in $271,000, according to interim finance reports released Wednesday by Elections B.C.

The individual donations are on top of the public subsidy that began to be paid this year, starting at a rate of $2.50 per vote earned by each party in 2017. That subsidy pays out about $27 million from taxpayers to the three eligible parties over five years, splitting about $2.4 million that was paid out at the beginning of 2018.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fruitvale man identified in fatal zipline accident in Thailand

Spencer Donaldson, 25, was from Fruitvale, B.C., the city’s mayor has confirmed

Fruitvale man, 25, dies after falling from zipline in Thailand, reports say

Bangkok Post says man fell from Flight of the Gibbon zipline in Chiang Mai

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read