De Jong should run for BC Liberal leader: Gibson

Gibson hails Abbotsford colleague’s speaking ability

Abbotsford-Mission MLA Simon Gibson is calling for fellow Abbotsford MLA Mike de Jong to run for the leadership of the BC Liberals.

Gibson issued a press release Thursday morning saying he hopes de Jong, who represents the Abbotsford West riding adjacent to Gibson’s, would do a good job as leader.

“The role of leader, of course, will be responsible for taking our party back to government and I know Mike has the talent and work ethic to make it happen,” Gibson said in the release. “He would be a strong Premier.”

Gibson cited de Jong’s work as Finance Minister, promotion B.C. lumber abroad, and stewardship of drinking-driving legislation, along with his speaking skills.

Asked by The News if de Jong was planning on running, Gibson said, “I’m not sure what he’s doing,” but added, “I’m optimistic.”

Party members will vote on a new leader in early February of 2018.

Surrey Mayor Diane Watts and Vancouver MLA Andrew Wilkinson are expected to announce they’re seeking to lead the party in the days to come. Others are expected to follow suit over the next week.

Asked if it’s too early to endorse a candidate before all the options are known, Gibson said told The News: “Based on what I know how, I’d say he’s by far the best case.”