MP McLeod seen as cabinet material
It’s been more than 30 years since a Kamloops MP last had a seat at the cabinet table.
But, with the departure of high-profile B.C. cabinet minister Stockwell Day, there is a possibility the three-decade drought could come to an end.
There is speculation Prime Minister Stephen Harper will look to the Interior for a replacement — and that could include Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod.
She is certainly the first choice of a former colleague, who now leads the B.C. Conservative Party.
Former MP John Cummins said he cannot think of a better person to fill a cabinet spot, calling McLeod bright, articulate and experienced.
“She [McLeod] would do a tremendous job for B.C. and the Kamloops region in cabinet,” he told KTW.
“I just think she’d be a marvelous appointment. I’d sure like to see it.”
Cummins — who said he doesn’t subscribe to the idea that cabinet ministers need to represent regions and instead favours the best person for the job — pointed out McLeod is someone who “has opinions and is not afraid to express them.”
Day, who was the MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla until stepping down before the May 2 election, served in several ministerial roles, including his last as president of the Treasury Board, which is considered a cabinet post.
If McLeod is indeed in the running for a cabinet spot, she’ll have competition from several other Tory MPs in the region.
Both Kelowna-Lake Country and Okanagan-Shuswap MPs Ron Cannan and Colin Mayes were sent back to Ottawa for a third time.
Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar said he would welcome seeing McLeod at the cabinet table, noting the MP has proven to be “hard-working.
“I don’t see how she wouldn’t be able to do it,” he said.
Milobar said the next-best scenario is to have a cabinet minister from the region.
When it came to discussing funding for projects, Milobar said, it was easier for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District to have access to Day and Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Chuck Strahl, both of whom had cabinet positions and portions of their ridings within the TNRD.
As for McLeod, she’s playing coy on the possibility of getting a promotion, noting the makeup of cabinet is up to the prime minister.
“It’s like you’re asking the basketball player to make the decision for the coach,” McLeod said.
The re-elected MP wouldn’t specify if she wanted a starting role, instead saying she would be pleased to serve in whatever role asked of her.
The last cabinet minister to represent Kamloops was Liberal Len Marchand, who was appointed Minister of Environment in 1977.