The B.C. Liberal Party’s newly appointed leader, Andrew Wilkinson (right), spoke to a group of around a dozen people in the tea room of the Penticton Art Gallery in mid-January, as contenders made their rounds ahead of the leadership election this weekend. Dustin Godfrey/Western News file photo

Battle lines fading with new B.C. Liberal leader: Ashton

Penticton MLA Dan Ashton says Andrew Wilkinson will be able to ‘hit the ground running’

Despite a few apparent rifts in the party in the lead-up to the B.C. Liberal leadership race, Penticton MLA Dan Ashton says he feels the party is coming together again with Andrew Wilkinson now named party leader.

“I think it went very well,” Ashton said of the conference in Vancouver Saturday night. “We had six very, very good candidates, and I thought it was a good leadership race.”

Related: Andrew Wilkinson takes B.C. Liberal leadership

That is despite a bit of simmering — and at times boiling — tensions during the race, including a final debate which saw heated exchanges involving Wilkinson.

“But it seems that everybody’s got over that, and now we’re all going to work together for all the people of British Columbia, and I think that’s really important,” he said, adding he is happy with the end result of the leadership race.

“I think it’s good. Andrew has a long history with the party, is an incredibly intelligent man, a very down-to-earth individual, and somebody that can hit the ground running. He knows the legislature very well.”

Related: PREVIEW: New B.C. Liberal leaders to be chosen tonight

He added Wilkinson knows the party well as a past president, and said he will be able to hop into both the roles of leading the party and leading the opposition against the B.C. NDP when legislature’s year kicks off with a throne speech on Feb. 13.

The party picked Wilkinson after five rounds of voting in a ranked ballot process that allotted 100 points to each riding. In the first three rounds, Wilkinson maintained a third-place ranking, but quickly made gains when Mike De Jong was dropped after the second round.

Related: MLA Ashton weighs in on B.C. Liberal leadership

In the fourth round, Wilkinson gained on Michael Lee, taking second place after former federal Conservative MP Dianne Watts, who led the pack through the fourth round. In the fifth and final round, Wilkinson gained enough points to take the win, with 4,621 of the 4,351 points required to win.

Watts finished the final round with 4,075 points.

“It’s an interesting process, how it was done,” Ashton said. “It was very close, and in my opinion it goes to show the quality of the candidates that were running, because they were all so close, which I think is important.”

Though Ashton declined to make any endorsements ahead of the leadership race, former Penticton MLA Bill Barisoff threw his weight behind De Jong, while Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson backed Wilkinson.

Related: B.C. Liberal leadership frontrunner draws lean crowd in Penticton


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Piles of debris hauled from Summerland rock slide site

Material removed from site would more than fill an Olympic swimming pool

Crews continuing to clear rock north of Summerland

Site has had no movement for the past eight days

Alleged Okanagan sex offender arrested in P.E.I.

Offences occurred while Ivan Glen Winchester was living in Summerland between 2006 and 2010

Silt slide south of Summerland on Highway 97

Traffic was delayed approx. 30 minutes, not related to rock slide north of Summerland

Video: Loving Mugs Chili Cook-off returns to Penticton Art Gallery

The fundraiser saw 12 chilis competing for top honours.

Rescued Kelowna skier shares appreciation of COSAR team

A skier was found out of bounds near Big White by Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

Okanagan weather watch: Snow on the way

Flurries have been predicted for most of the Okanagan Valley today

B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Most Read