Bill Barisoff (left) endorsed B.C. Liberal leadership contender Mike de Jong in an announcement Monday morning, making Barisoff, a former Penticton MLA, the 15th major endorsement for de Jong. Submitted photo

Former Penticton MLA endorses de Jong for leadership

Bill Barisoff announced his endorsement of Mike de Jong for B.C. Liberal leadership Monday morning

A retired South Okanagan MLA and former Speaker of the B.C. Legislature is tossing his two cents into the B.C. Liberal leadership race, with an endorsement of Mike de Jong.

Bill Barisoff, born in Oliver, represented the Okanagan-Boundary, Penticton-Okanagan Valley and Penticton ridings between 1996 and 2013, before retiring.

Barisoff announced Monday morning he would be endorsing de Jong for B.C. Liberal leadership, which is set for a vote in early February.

Related: De Jong touts track record in Liberal leadership bid

“He’s the kind of leader we need — and he is ready to lead on his first day on the job. He doesn’t need any time to get ready — he’s ready now,” Barisoff said in a news release. “I worked with Mike and I know he can take the fight to John Horgan and the NDP, and he can begin the critical work needed to renew the party and get ready to win the next election.”

Current Penticton MLA Dan Ashton declined to name his preference for the leadership vote during a year-end interview with the Western News last month.

Related: 2017 roundup: Ashton talks election and Indigenous relations

Barisoff served as Minister of Provincial Revenue and Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection before being named Speaker in 2005. He is the second-longest serving Speaker in B.C. history.

“I sat with Mike in Opposition and I sat with him in government. There’s no one better to make full use of the Legislature to keep the NDP’s feet to the fire and to make sure we renew the B.C. Liberal Party,” he said.

“Mike not only knows how to deliver balanced budgets, he has a vision about investing more in education, in healthcare and in affordability to make sure people feel the benefits of the strong economy we build.”

In the news release, de Jong staff pointed to a list of 15 “Team de Jong members,” who have come out in favour of the candidate, including former cabinet minister Mike Bernier, former Kelowna-Lake Country MLA and former Okanagan Centre member of Parliament Al Horning.

B.C. Liberals will be holding a convention to vote on the new leader, with the winner set to be announced on Feb. 3.

Just Posted

Osoyoos border gun smuggler sentenced

Alex Louie, who prefers the name Senk’lip, was sentenced to the mandatory minimum

Okanagan can learn from Washington’s wine industry growth

Winery owner cites importance of industry collaboration

City of Penticton installing new water supply pipe

Residents asked to conserve water during supply pipe connection

Penticton looking to build a smart grid

City is looking at ways to generate electricity

Okanagan wineries shine in global chardonnay competition

Recognition for Kalala and Liquidity wineries at 2018 Chardonnay du Monde competition

Rainy week ahead for Okanagan and Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecast rain for the next three days, starting Tuesday afternoon

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Search and rescue help injured sledders off Owlhead

Volunteer searchers also locate two hikers near Little Shuswap Lake

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

Most Read