Andrew Wilkinson

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Andrew Wilkinson

Andrew Wilkinson 2015.jpg
Leader of the Opposition in British Columbia
Assumed office
February 3, 2018
PremierJohn Horgan
Preceded byRich Coleman
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Vancouver-Quilchena
Assumed office
May 14, 2013
Preceded byColin Hansen
Leader of the BC Liberal Party
Assumed office
February 3, 2018
Preceded byRich Coleman (interim)
Attorney General of British Columbia
In office
June 12, 2017 – July 17, 2017
PremierChristy Clark
Preceded bySuzanne Anton
Succeeded byDavid Eby
Minister of Advanced Education
In office
December 18, 2014 – June 12, 2017
Preceded byAmrik Virk
Succeeded byLinda Reid
Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services
In office
June 10, 2013 – December 17, 2014
PremierChristy Clark
Preceded byBen Stewart
Succeeded byAmrik Virk
Personal details
Born1957/58 (age 60–62)
Political partyBC Liberal Party
ResidenceVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Alma materUniversity of Alberta (MD)
Magdalen College, Oxford (BA)
Dalhousie University (LLB)
ProfessionPhysician, lawyer and politician

Andrew Wilkinson, QC is a Canadian politician. He is the leader of the British Columbia Liberal Party,[2] and currently serves as the leader of BC's Legislative Official Opposition. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in the 2013 provincial election.[3] He represents the electoral district of Vancouver-Quilchena. He served as Minister of Justice and Attorney General from June 12, 2017 until an NDP minority government was sworn in the following month. He previously served as Minister of Advanced Education from December 18, 2014 [4] and the Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services from June 10, 2013. He was the deputy minister of the British Columbia Ministry of Economic Development from 2003 to 2006,[5] where he was responsible for economic issues, trade and tourism. He also served as deputy minister for Intergovernmental Relations in the Premier's Office for two years from 2001 to 2003.

Early life and education[edit]

Wilkinson was born in Australia. His family immigrated to Canada when he was four and he grew up in Kamloops. Wilkinson has credited his mother for encouraging him to pursue education as a way of getting ahead in life. He worked on farms and at gas stations to pay his way through university. Wilkinson graduated from the University of Alberta with his M.D. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford in 1980, where he attended Magdalen College, and obtained his first degree in law. He went on to receive his L.L.B. from Dalhousie University in 1987.

Prior to his election as MLA, Wilkinson was a partner in the Vancouver office of McCarthy Tétrault, a major national law firm, where he practised as a litigator. He was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 2008. Prior to being called to the British Columbia bar in 1988, Wilkinson lived and worked as a doctor in Campbell River, Lillooet and Dease Lake. He also served as an emergency room doctor at St. Paul's Hospital. Wilkinson was president of the BC Civil Liberties Association from 1993 to 1995.


Wilkinson served as the president of the BC Liberal Party from 1998 to 2001.[5]

After defeating Suzanne Anton for the Liberal party nomination,[5] Wilkinson was elected to represent the constituency of Vancouver-Quilchena in the 2013 provincial election.

Premier Christy Clark appointed Wilkinson as the Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services on June 10, 2013, and he was then appointed as Minister of Advanced Education on December 17, 2014. He also served as the Attorney General from June 12, 2017 to July 18, 2017.

He announced his candidacy to replace Clark as leader of the British Columbia Liberal Party on September 25, 2017,[6] and was subsequently elected leader in the February 3, 2018, election.[7]

Advanced Education

During his time as Advanced Education Minister, Wilkinson oversaw the creation of 19,000 full-time equivalent spaces for in-demand training and education in British Columbia. His ministry committed over a billion dollars for infrastructure upgrades to B.C. post-secondary schools. He also targeted government investments at increasing access to skilled trades programs, adding 3,730 new seats in schools throughout the province. Additionally, as a strong advocate for access to post-secondary education, he created the BC Completion Grant for Graduates and expanded the BC Loan Forgiveness Program to help students get out of debt faster.

In his BC Liberal leadership campaign platform, Wilkinson prioritized advanced education, promising to ensure "world-class training for the new economy" if he was ultimately elected premier. During a speech to the BC Liberal Convention in 2018, he is quoted as saying:

"Opportunity is key to what we do. It's what my family found when we got off that ship and landed in British Columbia and found this place to be a receptive place where you could get ahead. British Columbia has an excellent record of access to higher education, but we can still do better. You've all heard the stories of very very capable kids coming out of grade 12 who don't have these sky high grades in the mid 90s to get into education, to get into engineering, to get into commerce programs. We have to address this folks. We've got to make sure that if these capable kids are coming through our school system that we have the spaces available in our colleges and universities for them to get into the programs they want to be in, so they can get ahead and have the same success that we've enjoyed right here in British Columbia."

Equality for women

In the same speech, Wilkinson became emotional when talking about equality for women, saying "Let's make sure that the dreams of your daughters are no less than the dreams of your sons." He repeated his Leadership campaign call for government to set a standard for inclusion by ensuring women have access to leadership opportunities in cabinet, at universities, and crown corporations.

Electoral reform referendum

As Leader he played a significant role in convincing British Columbians to reject electoral reform in a 2018 referendum. Wilkinson's objections to the change centred on the lack of information provided to citizens by the government, and the biased referendum process that they designed. After weeks of pressure from the Opposition, on November 8, 2018 Premier John Horgan appeared with Wilkinson for a province-wide televised debate. During the debate, Wilkinson focused on exposing the many unanswered questions citizens needed to make an informed vote. The result of the referendum was 61% in favour of continuing with the current system.

Platform and policy

Wilkinson has made "Opportunity for All of B.C." the key driver of his vision and the slogan of the BC Liberal Party. Statements he has made to the public and to media indicate his electoral policy will focus on creating opportunity for British Columbians to get ahead through access to advanced education, a thriving private sector economy, and equality and fairness for all British Columbians.

In 2015, as Minister of Advanced Education, Wilkinson told a CBC interviewer that "...70 per cent of students go through their higher education with no debt whatsoever,". That fact was quickly refuted by the Canadian Federation of Students who pointed to a B.C. Stats report from 2013 which recorded that, in fact, 51% of students leave post-secondary debt-free.[8]

Following a January, 2017 New York Times article entitled "British Columbia: The 'Wild West' of Canadian Political Cash"[9] Wilkinson was delegated to speak on behalf of the BC Liberal party, saying: "No one gets special treatment by being a campaign donor," and "It's a system that works." Wilkinson himself hosted a $1000-per-plate fundraiser in September 2014 in his riding of Vancouver-Quilchena.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Wilkinson is married with three children and lives in Vancouver.[1] Wilkinson is past-president of the Vancouver Institute and has served on boards including the Canadian Tourism Commission, Tourism B.C., and the Federation of B.C. Mountain Clubs. An avid outdoorsman, he is a former president of the B.C. Mountaineering Club.

Electoral history[edit]

2017 British Columbia general election: Vancouver-Quilchena
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Andrew Wilkinson 12,464 55.96
New Democratic Madeline Lalonde 6,244 28.03
Green Michael Barkusky 3,301 14.82
Libertarian William Morrison 265 1.19
Total valid votes 22,274 100.00
Total rejected ballots 116
Turnout 22,390
Source: Elections BC[11]
2013 British Columbia general election: Vancouver-Quilchena
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Andrew Wilkinson 14,496 64.32
New Democratic Nicholas Scapillati 5,705 25.31
Green Damian Kettlewell 1,667 7.40
No Affiliation Bill Clarke 671 2.98
Total valid votes 22,539 100.00
Total rejected ballots 108 0.48
Turnout 22,647 59.45
Source: Elections BC[12]


  1. ^ a b Chan, Cheryl (Feb 17, 2013). "Andrew Wilkinson beats Suzanne Anton as Vancouver-Quilchena candidate". Vancouver Sun. Postmedia News. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  2. ^ “Andrew Wilkinson elected leader of B.C. Liberals”. CBC News, February 3, 2018.
  3. ^ "Vancouver: Eby defeats Clark in Point Grey, Sullivan takes False Creek". The Province, May 15, 2013.
  4. ^ "Andrew Wilkinson-Today's BC Liberals" Archived 2017-04-09 at the Wayback Machine. BC Liberal Website, April 8, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Woo, Andrea (May 6, 2013). "Candidate Profile: Outdoor pursuits factor into Liberal candidate's political thinking". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Former advanced education minister Andrew Wilkinson announces bid to lead B.C. Liberals". CBC News. September 25, 2017.
  7. ^ "How Andrew Wilkinson won the B.C. Liberal leadership race". Vancouver Sun. 2018-02-06. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  8. ^ "Andrew Wilkinson's student debt numbers don't match government survey". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  9. ^ "British Columbia: The 'Wild West' of Canadian Political Cash". New York Times. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  10. ^ "In 'Wild West' of Political Cash, Wilkinson Was a Shameless Cowboy". The Tyee. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  11. ^ "2017 Provincial General Election Preliminary Voting Results". Elections BC. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Statement of Votes - 40th Provincial General Election" (PDF). Elections BC. Retrieved 17 May 2017.

External links[edit]