British Columbia’s premier says he will call a byelection to fill the now vacant seat of former BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson before the end of the spring sitting of the legislature.
Wilkinson officially stepped down as the MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena on Feb. 17, opening the door for newly-elected leader Kevin Falcon to win back a seat in the legislature.
Asked about a timeline for the vote Thursday, Premier John Horgan said he was working to get the byelection called “as quickly as possible.”
Horgan used the opportunity to take a shot at the previous BC Liberal government, which waited the better part of half a year to call a byelection in the riding of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant after then-MLA Jenny Kwan stepped down to run in the 2015 federal election.
“That’s not anything I plan to do,” Horgan said.
“I believe people deserve representation in the legislature and we’re going to call that byelection, certainly the seat will be filled before the house rises for the summer.”
Falcon, a former cabinet minister in the Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark governments, captured the BC Liberal leadership in a landslide last month, winning 47 per cent of the vote on the first ballot before sealing the deal on the fifth ballot.
The party had been headed by interim leader Shirley Bond since Wilkinson vacated the post in the wake of the 2020 election, the party’s worst electoral showing since 1991, in which it was reduced to 28 seats.
By law, the provincial government must call a byelection within six months of an MLA resigning their seat.