Party Leader: Andrew Wilkinson
Current Number of Seats: 41
The British Columbia Liberal Party was founded in 1903. The party currently has 47 seats in the legislature, giving them a majority government. They have been in power since 2001. The party was originally affiliated with the Liberal Party of Canada but has been independent since the 1980s.
BC did not have a party system until 1903. The Liberal Party first formed the government in 1916 under Premier Harlan Carey Brewster. Brewster died in 1918, and he was replaced by John Oliver. Oliver remained premier until his death in 1927. John Duncan MacLean became the next premier but was defeated by the Conservatives in the 1928 election.
The Liberals returned to power in 1933 by defeating the Conservatives, and Duff Pattullo became the premier. John Hart replaced Patullo as premier in 1941, and a Liberal-Conservative coalition governed the province. The coalition ran as one party during the 1945 election.
Hart retired in 1947 and was replaced by Byron Johnson. Johnson notably appointed Nancy Hodges as the first female speaker in Canadian (and British Commonwealth) history. The Social Credit Party defeated the coalition in 1952.
The party, led by Gordon Wilson, returned to relevance in when it became the Official Opposition following the 1991 election. Gordon Campbell was elected leader in 1993.
The Liberals won the popular vote in 1996 but were defeated as they won fewer seats than the NDP. The Liberals won the 2001 election by a landslide, capturing 77 of 79 seats. The Liberals were re-elected in 2005 and 2009. The Liberals won 24 seats in the 2009 BC Student Vote.
Campbell resigned in 2011 and was replaced by Premier Christy Clark.
During the 2013 provincial election, Liberal Party won its fourth consecutive majority. The party successful won 49 seats in the legislature and 44.1 percent of the popular vote.
Christy Clark was defeated in her riding; however, she was re-elected to the legislature in a by-election in Westside-Kelowna.
In contrast, the BC Liberals failed to win a majority during the 2013 BC Student Vote. The party won 21 seats and received 28.2 percent of the popular vote.
During the 2017 provincial election, the party captured 43 seats, one seat less to form a majority. The party was defeated on June 29, 2017, after BC NDP and the BC Greens reached an agreement to form a minority government.
Following the party’s defeat, Christy Clark resigned as the premier and announced she will step down as the MLA and party leader on August 4, 2017. Following the announcement, Rich Coleman was elected interim leader.
In the Student Vote B.C. 2017 results, the party won 12 seats and received 25.4% of popular vote.
During the party leadership election held on February 3rd, 2018, Andrew Wilkinson was elected as the party’s new leader.