Two-term, north coast-area MLA is first candidate into B.C. Liberal leadership race

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TERRACE, B.C. — Just days after former British Columbia Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson delivered his official letter of resignation, the first candidate has come forward to replace him.

The two-term Liberal member for the riding of Skeena, Ellis Ross, confirms he will seek the party's leadership.

Ross, a former chief councillor of the Haisla Nation, became the first Liberal to win the Skeena riding in 16 years when he was elected to the Legislature in 2017.

He briefly held the post of minister for natural gas development and minister responsible for housing before Christy Clark's Liberal government was replaced by a minority New Democrat administration.

Ross, a firm supporter of the liquefied natural gas industry, then served the remainder of his first term as the Opposition critic for LNG, resource opportunities and responsible development and won re-election in 2020, capturing 52 per cent of the vote in the process.

Acting Liberal party president Don Silversides announced Wednesday that a leadership vote date will be set for no later than February 16, 2022.

Wilkinson's departure follows the party's election defeat last October that saw the Liberals reduced to 28 of the 87 seats in the Legislature.

Interim leader Shirley Bond says she has no plans to seek the leadership.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2021.

— With files from CFTK

The Canadian Press