BC Liberal leadership hopeful Andrew Wilkinson is in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House Friday to tour with MLA Donna Barnett and meet with constituents.
With the party’s leadership vote slated for the weekend of Feb. 1, 2 and 3, Wilkinson said each riding counts.
“The fact that there are 5,300 members in Surrey-Newton doesn’t matter because they get 100 points in this, just like the Cariboo Chilcotin gets a 100 points,” Wilkinson told the Tribune. “It’s very important to talk with the folks in the Cariboo Chilcotin. Folks here are very good supporters of mine and Donna’s a supporter of mine so it’s great to come and meet with people.”
Wilkison had a luncheon in 100 Mile House and will attend a meeting later in the afternoon back in Williams Lake.
Selecting to run for the leader of the party was an easy decision to make, Wilkinson said.
He’s lived and worked all over the province, and said as the party leader he wants to represent everyone.
When asked what is the main issue facing people in B.C. he responded, “affordability.”
“In areas like the Cariboo, what’s happening with the forest industry and what’s happening with mining leaves people wondering if they are going to have viable work into the future? That’s the description of affordability here. In the Lower Mainland it’s about the cost of housing, but in other parts of the province it’s about the cost of living and secure employment.”
Wilkinson said he’s been pushing for the need to have an inventory of the forest supply in the Cariboo Chilcotin.
“There’s been a huge amount of change because of the pine beetle, followed by the fires and it’s high time we got a proper updated fibre inventory so we know what’s going to happen with the forest industry.”
MLA Barnett said she is supporting Wilkinson’s bid for the leadership because she believes he takes an inclusive approach that will include the entire province.
“Andrew has the capacity, and the knowledge and the thoughtfulness to do that,” Barnett said. “We need the Lower Mainland, we need rural British Columbia, we need all of it.”
Wilkinson grew up in Kamloops and has lived in Dease Lake, Lillooet, Cambell River, and did some training in Trail, B.C.
He was a rural doctor for three years and then switched to pursue a career in law.
He has been involved with the BC Liberals for decades and in the 1990s travelled the province to help Gordon Campbell recruit new members into the BC Liberal coalition after the 1996 election.