BARBARA GEERNAERT / PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN
After recently announcing his candidacy for leader of the BC Liberal Party, Andrew Wilkinson is ready to travel across the province.
Current stop, Prince George.
Brent Braaten, Photographer
"I'm in Prince George because it's critically important that any potential leader of our party has a very close relationship and an ongoing understanding of life in the north central interior," Wilkinson said.
"I grew up in the interior, in Kamloops, and I know you only understand communities when you actually sit down and talk to people about their way of life and the opportunities and problems they face."
Wilkinson, physician turned lawyer, has served as MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena since 2013 and has served as both minister of advanced education and minister of technology, innovation and citizens' services in the Christy Clark government.
He holds degrees from the University of Alberta, Dalhousie University and Oxford University, where he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.
Mike Morris. MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie, is open about his support for Wilkinson's candidacy as the new Liberal leader.
"We've had lots of time together and we are very much on the same page and our philosophies are very similar. He also has much experience from being a lawyer and a doctor in rural communities. He's traveled extensively throughout the province and he understands the north," Morris told The Citizen last month.
Wilkinson has worked and lived in Campbell River, Lillooet and Dease Lake.
"B.C. is a big and complicated place. I believe I have a unique ability to understand the pressures and opportunities that people face all over the province," he said.
"I have a breadth of experience and depth of the party. I believe I can bring our coalition together and then fight and win the next election against the NDP."
The Liberals were defeated in a confidence vote in July, allowing for the New Democrats to form a new government with the support of the Green Party.
"We believe in investing in people and the power of free enterprise to allow people to succeed in their own right. Unlike the NDP, we don't think government should administer programs to people. We believe that government should make it possible for people to be their best and make the most of their energies and opportunities," Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson arrived in Prince George on Friday and is looking forward to meeting with various members of the community before leaving today.
"There's a feeling all around B.C. that political leaders have lost touch with people in their own communities," he said.
"So whoever becomes Liberal leader has to be able to sit down with people in their communities and learn from them."
Voting for Liberal leadership will take place on Feb. 3.
Read the article on the Prince George Citizen here