Ellis Ross, MLA for the Skeena district, introduced Andrew Wilkinson in Prince Rupert and expressed why he supports him as the next BC Liberal leader. (Shannon Lough/The Northern View)

Ellis Ross, MLA for the Skeena district, introduced Andrew Wilkinson in Prince Rupert and expressed why he supports him as the next BC Liberal leader. (Shannon Lough/The Northern View)

BC Liberal leader hopeful Wilkinson shares vision with Rupertites

Andrew Wilkinson travelled to Prince Rupert with two supporting northern MLAs, Ross and Rustad

Less than a month before the BC Liberal Party votes on a new leader one of the front runners, Andrew Wilkinson, paid a visit to Prince Rupert with two northern MLA’s by his side.

There are six leadership candidates who are left in the running. Wilkinson has garnered the support of 13 BC Liberal caucus members, twice as many as any other candidate. Two of his supporters, Ellis Ross, MLA for the Skeena district, and John Rustad for Nechako Lakes joined him on his trip to Prince Rupert.

“What I saw in Andrew Wilkinson was his legal background, his medical background, his government experience and what I thought was ‘that is the kind of leader we’re going to need, especially when we’re talking about B.C. being at a crossroads in terms of economic development’,” Ross said as he introduced Wilkinson to a small crowd inside Cow Bay Cafe on Thursday, Jan. 4 at noon.

READ MORE: B.C. Liberal battle getting bitter

Wilkinson spoke to his experience of living and working across the province, the importance of fostering opportunity by welcoming investment, and shutting down the NDP “scheme” for proportional representation. He favours being fiscally prudent rather than spending money on programs that don’t generate revenue. He believes in balanced budgets.

“We don’t run up debts for children to pay later on for things we want to consume today,” Wilkinson said.

He claimed to have the backbone to take on Premier John Horgan, and that he won’t apologize for what the party did in the past. It’s time to move ahead and learn from our mistakes, he said.

LNG

The BC Liberal candidate’s platform included hope for a future liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry despite most projects withdrawing from Prince Rupert.

“We’re welcoming investment to B.C. That means major projects like you’ve seen here with the Prince Rupert port development, like the LNG projects that Ellis and I talk about all the time, those are the sorts of things that we want to encourage,” Wilkinson said.

Health care

When asked about the possibility of medical services shifting to Terrace once the new hospital is built, he said he’s familiar with the scenario as he’s worked as a lawyer within the medical profession across the province.

“Health care planning and hospital planning is something that has to be done to figure out what’s going to be functional for people, not necessarily something that is going to be functional for a concrete building,” Wilkinson said.

READ MORE: Todd Stone makes his pitch

However, he also mentioned that Prince Rupert spends a lot of health care dollars through its air ambulance service where people are brought in from Haida Gwaii and coastal communities to receive care at the regional hospital.

North Coast economy

The BC Liberal leader hopeful said that the city continually anticipates big projects, and when they do come along, such as the AltaGas propane project on Ridley Island, then there’s an economic boost.

“But I think the goal for Prince Rupert has got to be to get more stable economic based jobs rather than bursts of construction activity that lead to slow downs after the construction ends,” he said.

He wants to create opportunities for investors to come and establish long term durable jobs that are going to lead to prosperity for years to come.

Housing

He was asked about his concern on the housing issue, lack of affordable homes and high rents, across the province. Wilkinson dismissed the 44 modular homes that the current provincial government has promised Prince Rupert stating it’s not enough.

His approach would be to provide incentives to municipalities for zoning and permitting land to encourage the private sector to build housing.

“In the Lower Mainland it has almost completely failed because there are 110,000 units waiting for permits down there. What I’ve suggested is it’s time for us to think about taking half of any budget surplus, that would be $1.4 billion dollars this year, and creating a community investment fund. Then you say to municipalities ‘Apply for these funds. Show us what you’ve done to make things better’ and we’ll create a race between municipalities to speed things up,” Wilkinson said.

Prince Rupert

When asked how he would work with the municipal government, he said that Prince Rupert already has everything it needs in terms of a baseline structure of a community.

“What it needs of course is a sense of renewal and that’s going to come with investment projects, like LNG we hope, certainly like the port, certainly like AltaGas propane, so that we can have a thriving community here, a thriving private sector that builds housing that builds retail and provides the services like health and education that the people of Prince Rupert are entitled to,” Wilkinson said.

BC Liberal party members will vote for their new leader between Feb. 1-3.

 

shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com 

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Andrew WilkinsonBC Liberals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Weeks before the vote for the next BC Liberal leader, Andrew Wilkinson makes his pitch to Prince Rupert members. (Shannon Lough/The Northern View)

Weeks before the vote for the next BC Liberal leader, Andrew Wilkinson makes his pitch to Prince Rupert members. (Shannon Lough/The Northern View)

Just Posted

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Hazelton school COVID-19 closure extended one week

With spring break on horizon, Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary will be closed to end of March

There were 31 new COVID-19 cases in the Terrace local health area during the week of Feb. 21 to Feb. 27, 2021. (BC Centre for Disease Control)
Northwest B.C. remains a COVID-19 hot spot

There were 31 new cases reported in the Terrace local health area between Feb. 21 and Feb. 27

Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs president and Grand Chief Stweart Phillip speaking at a rally with chiefs from around B.C. outside of the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in 2019. The UBCIC said in an open letter to Terrace city council that it was “heartbroken” to hear about the situation. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs ‘heartbroken’ by McCallum-Miller resignation

Terrace’s first Indigenous councillor resigned Feb. 22, alleging systemic racism

Terrace RCMP found gloves containing suspected methamphetamine and purple fentanyl following a traffic stop on the afternoon of March 2, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace RCMP seize suspected methamphetamine, fentanyl following traffic stop

Police observed passenger of the vehicle trying to hide bags of white substance between their legs

General voting day for the Terrace trustee by-election is Saturday, March 6 at the Terrace Sportsplex Multipurpose Room from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Black Press file photo)
Terrace trustee by-election: Meet the candidates

General voting day is March 6 at the Terrace Sportsplex Multipurpose Room from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of dead B.C. Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife, secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read