BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson is stepping down as leader of the opposition and calling for his party to name an interim successor.
Wilkinson, whose party lost to Premier John Horgan’s NDP in B.C.’s snap election last month, had previously indicated he planned to stay in his role until a new leader could be selected.
In a Facebook post Saturday, Wilkinson changed course, saying he would leave the role immediately.
“It is now time for me to leave the role of opposition leader, as the voters of British Columbia have made their preference clear,” the post reads. “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.”
In his post, Wilkinson describes serving as party leader and leader of the opposition as an honour, and says he is grateful for the opportunity to have done so.
He also describes the BC Liberals as having “a lot of work to do,” invoking partnership with Indigenous communities and protection of LGBTQ2S rights as specific areas the party needs to address.
“We need to rebuild and renew – and that starts with tough conversations and sincere reflections,” Wilkinson writes in his post. “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.”
The BC Liberals won 28 of the 87 seats in B.C.’s legislature, the party’s lowest total seat count since 1991.
Horgan’s NDP won 57 seats on 48 per cent of the vote, which was the highest percentage of votes cast for any party in the province since 2001.
The decisive defeat for the Liberals led the party’s executive leadership to set a road map for “rebuilding and renewal,” which is set to include an independent debrief on the campaign and outreach to groups underrepresented in the party.