Eric Foster (left), Greg Kyllo

Local MLAs thrilled with new leader

Eric Foster and Greg Kyllo fully support election of Andrew Wilkinson

As far as Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster is concerned, B.C. Premier John Horgan is in trouble.

Foster predicts newly elected Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson will give the current premier a run and help guide the Liberals back to running the province after their defeat in 2017.

Wilkinson was elected leader Saturday at the Liberal convention in Vancouver.

“He’s going to be a handful for Horgan,” said Foster. “I’m really pleased with the outcome. Andrew is a great guy and he has a lot of support in our riding. He’s smart, likeable.”

It took five rounds of voting for the Liberals to elect Wilkinson, who grew up in Kamloops, as the new leader, replacing Christy Clark.

Wilkinson finished the fifth round with 4,621 points to beat former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, who finished with 4,075.

Watts led after the first round of votes. Rookie Vancouver MLA Michael Lee was second followed by Wilkinson, MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena. Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone was fourth, followed by Abbotsford West MLA Mike deJong. Vancouver-False Creek MLA Sam Sullivan dropped off the ballot.

In round two, deJong dropped from the ballot, followed by Stone in round three and Lee in round four.

Wilkinson never led any votes until the final count.

Foster has worked with Wilkinson, former advanced education minister, on the new trades centre being built at Vernon’s Okanagan College.

The fact Wilkinson has worked and lived in small rural communities is another big plus, according to Foster, former mayor of Lumby.

“He really has a grasp on small communities in rural B.C.,” said Foster. “All-in-all, he’s well supported by caucus. They hold him in high esteem. He’s an excellent choice. I couldn’t be happier.”

Shuswap Liberal MLA Greg Kyllo, also from a small community, was elated with the choice of Wilkinson.

“He’s a very sharp, well-spoken man,” said Kyllo, who originally threw his support behind Stone. “He’s a great guy. I have a lot of respect for him and he’ll be the one to lead our party back to the top.”

The B.C. NDP and Green Parties extended their congratulations to Wilkinson. The B.C. Conservatives, meanwhile, extended an invitation for small-c conservative Liberals to join their party.

Interim party leader Scott Anderson of Vernon is anticipating a “mass exodus of small-c conservatives following Wilkinson’s victory.

“We have seen an upsurge in interest in our party since the BC Liberal leadership election began,” said Anderson. “With the election of a confirmed supporter of Trudeau’s Liberal Party of Canada at the helm, there is simply no way for the BC Liberals to keep pretending that their party is in any way a ‘coalition’ of federal Conservatives and federal Liberals.

“It is obvious to anyone but the most obtuse that the Liberal Party of BC and the Liberal Party of Canada are one and the same.”

Just Posted

Okanagan and Shuswap blossom at Communities in Bloom awards

District of Sicamous, City of Armstrong double winners at B.C. awards gala; Lumby also a winner

Internet speed testing implemented in the CSRD

Test results will be tracked to find areas where improvement is needed.

Sicamous Eagles lose two on the road

Despite late offensive surges, the Sicamous squad came up short in Spokane and the Beaver Valley.

What financial commitments do you want from candidates running for prime minister?

As the federal election quickly approaches, the Observer took to the streets… Continue reading

In photos: Magician entertains in downtown Salmon Arm

Children of Salmon Arm were treated to the wonders of magician Leif… Continue reading

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Former South Okanagan resident found dead in Alberta

Candace Deleeuw was reported missing Sept. 16

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Latimer surveyed much of Summerland

Civil engineer was also responsible of community’s irrigation system

Caught on Camera: Boat catches fire at Okanagan marina

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Most Read