It’s official, BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson is stepping down to make way for an interim party leader.
The party is slated to meet Monday to vote on an interim replacement.
Wilkinson announced plans to resign on Oct. 26, two days after the party’s decisive defeat by the NDP in the provincial election.
In that 90-second press conference, he said he planned to stay on until a new leader was selected.
In a Facebook post Saturday, his first public comment since the announcement, Wilkinson changed that position.
“Taking on a leadership position in the B.C. Legislature is an honour for anyone chosen for such a role, and it has been my honour to serve as Leader of the Opposition for almost three years,” he wrote.
“It is now time for me to leave the role of Opposition Leader, as the voters of British Columbia have made their preference clear. 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.”
Wilkinson has faced pressure to step aside following the election, which saw the party reduced from 41 to 28 seats, its worst showing since 1991.
The party lost seats in traditional strongholds including the Fraser Valley and Okanagan.
He has also faced criticism over his leadership.
Tolerance of candidates from the party’s social conservative wing such as Laurie Throness, whose stance on LGBTQ2 issues and contraception became an election issue, drew fire from both inside and outside the party.
Earlier this month, defeated North Vancouver-Seymour candidate Jane Thornthwaite penned a scathing op-ed, accusing Wilkinson of throwing her “under the bus” amid a scandal, and presiding over a sexist “double standard” in the party.
In his Facebook post, Wilkinson acknowledged the party “has a lot of work to do” to “rebuild and renew.”
“New conversations are happening about what is important to people now. Things like access to housing that works for the different ways that people live their lives. Affordable and efficient transportation and quality healthcare must be a priority for every government going forward,” Wilkinson wrote.
“Equality and opportunity for everyone and protection of LGTBQ2S rights need to be integral parts of policies and plans throughout government, because these are fundamental to the fairness and equality that we all seek.”
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