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Prince George MLA Shirley Bond to remain interim BC Liberal leader until February 2022

Party leadership election will take place Feb. 3-5, 2022
Prince George-Valemount MLA and interim BC Liberal leader Shirley Bond. | Jess Fedigan, PrinceGeorgeMatters

Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond will remain at the helm of the BC Liberals until early February next year. 

The party has announced its election for a permanent leader for Feb. 5, 2022. 

“We are excited to begin the race for the leadership of our party, a process that will help to shape the future of BC Politics," Interim BC Liberal Party President Don Silversides said in a release. 

"We have set the vote for February 2022 to attract the broadest possible range of candidates to the race, and give them the best possible opportunity to engage British Columbians in person, when hopefully the pandemic is more under control.”

On Nov. 23, 2020, Bond was voted interim leader by the 28-member caucus after Andrew Wilkinson announced he would step down after suffering a massive defeat in the October snap election.

Bond is one of the longest-serving MLAs in the Victoria legislature, taking over the Prince George-Valemount riding in 2001 and has won six consecutive terms since, including the B.C. snap-election on Oct. 24.

“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 said.

Bond has held numerous positions with the Liberals, starting as Minister of Advanced Education from 2001 to 2004.

Under then-Premier Gordon Campbell, she was B.C.'s 10th Deputy Premier between 2004 and 2009.

Bond's extensive résumé also includes Health Services Minister (2004-2005), Education Minister, also responsible for Early Learning and Literacy (2005-2009), Transportation and Infrastructure Minister (2009-2011), Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General (2011-2012), Attorney General (2011-2013), Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Minister, also responsible for Labour (2013-2017), Cair of the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Finance critic (2017-present). 

The BC Liberal Leadership Organization Committee has finalized the rules and procedures for the February 2022 election, the release adds. 

The committee was in charge of deciding the timeline for the leadership election, establishing rules and implementing a process in which members will elect the leader. 

Thus far, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross has verbally expressed his intent to run for BC Liberal leadership, the first known politician to do so.

Bond has said, on a number of occasions, she doesn't plan to run in the leadership race.

- with files from Kyle Balzer, PrinceGeorgeMatters