Andrew Wilkinson made an appearance in Prince George today, his first official visit to the North since winning the BC Liberal Leadership race on February 3rd.

Hosting a Q&A with local residents at Trench Brewing, the subject of proportional representation was raised, in which the Vancouver-Quilchena MLA referred to the idea put forward by the BC NDP as ‘nuts.’

He believes the change could render the region’s vote worthless, with the majority of the population already living between Abbotsford and Victoria.

“Once Northerners see what’s going on with this plan change, they will be pretty offended at the idea of having their MLAs taken away and won’t be able to choose their own MLAs anymore and people then want to vote for the existing system.”

If implemented, the system would be used for the 2021 election.

But, as a former Northerner himself, Wilkinson claims politicians can’t fully understand a region’s needs from more than 700 kilometres away.

“I had a conversation just recently about the old Dease Lake extension to the CN rail line that was put in the 1970s and it’s never been used beyond Takla Lake, and I thought, ‘Yeah I saw that rail line; I used to work up there.’ So that gives a real sense on the ground of understanding the North. People really got to be here see it for themselves.”

He encourages everyone to speak up, talk to their local MLA, and become familiar with all voting systems to consider the pros and cons.