'Everyone's voice must be heard': B.C. Liberal doesn't concede provincial election

Gemma Karstens-Smith
·2 min read

VANCOUVER — B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson urged patience Saturday night, saying every vote must be counted before the final results of the provincial election are determined.

Wilkinson said in a speech that New Democrat Leader John Horgan was clearly ahead and appeared poised to form government, but he did not concede the race.

“We have to wait for these results because everyone’s voice needs to be heard," Wilkinson said. "This has been an unprecedented election in terms of the number of mail-in ballots and all of those voters have the right to have their votes counted and taken into account.”

Saturday's results showed the NDP forming a majority government and the Liberals the official Opposition. The Greens won three seats.

The final results will not be known for at least two weeks due to the large number of mail-in ballots cast throughout the province.

“We’ll have more to say going forward but for now, we all have a responsibility to be patient, to respect the democratic process and to await the final results," Wilkinson said.

The Liberal leader did not take any questions after speaking to reporters in an almost empty hotel ballroom in downtown Vancouver.

The Liberals held 41 seats when the election was called, the same number as the New Democrats who had a minority government supported by the Greens.

Wilkinson and his party campaigned on kick-starting B.C.’s economy by eliminating the provincial sales tax for a year, getting rid of small-business income tax and implementing $10- to $30-a-day daycare.

“I’m proud to have presented a bold plan on behalf of the B.C. Liberal party to move it into the future, to offer it to the voters of British Columbia, and we’ll see what the final count says," he said.

The Liberals weathered a few controversies during the campaign.

Video circulated of several party members — including Wilkinson — laughing asent candidate Jane Thornthwaite made sexist remarks about an NDP candidate. Thornthwaite was defeated in North Vancouver-Seymour on Saturday night.

Laurie Throness drew criticism during the election for likening birth control to eugenics before resigning from the party to continue running as an Independent. He was still listed as a Liberal on the ballot and locked in a tight race with the NDP in Chilliwack-Kent.

Several notable Liberals lost their seats to the NDP on Saturday, including former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan, longtime incumbent Mary Polak in Langley, and former journalist Jas Johal in Richmond-Queensborough.

Wilkinson, 63, held on to his seat in the riding of Vancouver-Quilchena.

Saturday marked his first election as Liberal leader, coming after he replaced Christy Clark in 2018.

The Liberals held power in B.C. from 2001 until the last election in 2017.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2020.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press