Andrew Wilkson is the fresh face of the Liberal party running for premier this October. He was born in Brisbane, Australia, but immigrated to Kamloops, BC at the age of four because his father got a job working on cattle parasites. He attended public school until he was thirteen and his family moved to Lethbridge. AB. He started in medical school at the University of Alberta and three years into his program was offered the Rhodes scholarship to study at the prestigious Oxford University. After he finished his law degree, he returned to U-Alberta to finish his medical school program.
He’s worked many jobs in his lifetime, starting out filling in for family and emergency room doctors in remote communities such as Dease Lake. In 1987, Wilkinson got his L.L.B. from Dalhousie University began practicing law in BC in 1988.
By 1990, he was working with George Campbell – the premier of BC- to “unite the Liberal party’s modern-day free-enterprise coalition” until 2001. According to Liberal MLA Mary Ploack, this work united the Liberal base, creating a strong idealistic foundation on which to form government.
In 2006, he left his post as deputy minister for intergovernmental relations in the George Campbell administration to be a litigator in Vancouver. Despite leaving the government, he still remained active in Liberal politics. Colin Hansen, the Liberal incumbent for the Vancouver-Quilchena riding, wasn’t seeking reelection, so Wilkison ran for the Liberals. He won easily and was appointed Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services by Christy Clark. He was responsible for buying and selling government land, as well as the redesign of the BC services card.
Just over a year later, he was appointed minister of advanced education. In this position he put all accounts under the same set of rules, dissolved PCTIA – an industry that regulated private language schools- and introduced the sexual misconduct act at the tail end of his term.
A big issue for Wilkison across his career has been election reform. In 2017, he introduced the Election Amendment Act. If approved, this bill would ban corporate and union political donations, cap individual donations at $5,000 a year and ban loans (excluding from Canadian banks.) However, he’s campaigning against election reform in the 2020 race.
Wilkinson has been criticized for being an elitist, out of touch candidate in part because of his prestigious education and because of the affluent district he represents. The NDP will call this out and appeal to the middle class. It is still undecided wether there will be a debate between the candidates. If there is, Wiliksion will have an opportunity to win over the public through being well spoken. He’ll also have a chance to unleash “Hulk Horgan”.
UPDATE: This article was written prior to the loss of the Liberal party and resignation of Mr. Wiliksion