Long time BC Liberal MLA Shirley Bond has been chosen by her peers as the BC Liberals interim leader.
Bond was re-elected in Prince George-Valemount last month and has been an MLA since 2001. She served in both Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark’s cabinets including roles as Minister of Justice, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Deputy Premier and Jobs Minister.
Bond is the second woman, following former Premier Christy Clark, to be the BC Liberal leader.
Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux has been chosen as the caucus chair.
MLAs Mike Bernier, Peter Milobar and Ben Stewart were also under consideration as interim leader.
“I appreciate the confidence and trust my colleagues have placed in me as we work together to hold John Horgan and the NDP government to account in the coming months,” Bond said.
“I want to thank Andrew Wilkinson for his service as leader over the past several years and I look forward to continuing to work with him and our entire team of new and returning MLAs to present a positive vision for this province.”
Former leader Andrew Wilkinson originally intended on staying in his position until a permanent leader was chosen, but there was resistance from some within the Liberal caucus about the idea. Wilkinson led the party to its worst performance since the 1991 election, winning just 28 seats.
On Saturday, Wilkinson formally stepped down as leader and will continue to serve as an MLA.
“It is now time for me to leave the role of opposition leader, as the voters of British Columbia have made their preference clear,” Wilkinson wrote on Facebook.
“In doing so, I welcome the selection of an interim leader from our caucus and will fully support her or him as our caucus prepares to act as the Official Opposition once again.”
The BC Liberals have not announced the rules for an upcoming leadership race to find a permanent leader. Unlike the interim, the permanent leader does not have to come from within the caucus.
Todd Stone, Michael Lee, Kevin Falcon, Jas Johal and Ellis Ross have all been rumoured to be interested in the full-time job.
“Our party, the interim leader, and our members have a lot of work to do. We need to rebuild and renew – and that starts with tough conversations and sincere reflections,” Wilkinson wrote.
“I know I’ve had many of those myself in recent weeks and I know there are many more to come for all of us as we work toward a leadership race that will define our new leader, and our positions and profile heading into the next election. There are still many conversations to have about how we can do better.”