Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond has been elected the interim leader of the official opposition for the BC Liberal Party, following Saturday’s resignation of now former leader Andrew Wilkinson over Twitter.
Bond is a 19-year veteran of the Legislative Assembly of B.C. She is a former deputy premier under former Premier Gordon Campbell and doubled as Minister of Education between 2005 and 2009. Bond also served as Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General from 2011 to 2012 and became Attorney General from August 2011 to June 2013. She was re-elected for a fifth time on October 24 despite her party losing and holding just 28 seats, down from 41. The 28-member BC Liberal caucus voted for Bond on Monday.
“I appreciate the confidence and trust my colleagues have placed in me as we work together to hold John Horgan and the NDP government to account in the coming months,” said Bond. “I want to thank Andrew Wilkinson for his service as leader over the past several years and I look forward to continuing to work with him and our entire team of new and returning MLAs to present a positive vision for this province,” stated Bond, via a BC Liberal statement.
Bond is set for a significant interim pay raise. Whereas a regular MLA is paid $111,024, the Leader of the Official Opposition is paid an additional 50%, or $166,536.
Bond stated she would be appointing a leadership team and assigning MLA critic portfolios.
Bond is a former Prince George school board trustee. Bond’s profile does not currently appear on the Legislature website (which is under a cyber security investigation after being hacked). Her Wikipedia profile states, “Prior to being elected, Bond was also attending the University of Northern British Columbia but did not attain her bachelor's degree. She has an arts and sciences diploma from the College of New Caledonia.
The BC Liberals also appointed South Surrey MLA Stephanie Cadieux as their new caucus chair.
The BC Liberal MLAs will be officially sworn in on Friday and the BC Legislature is currently scheduled to return for a brief legislative session starting on December 7.