Terry Lake said he felt an obligation to return to the political arena only two years after leaving the game.
The former Kamloops mayor and erstwhile B.C. Liberal MLA didn’t initially feel that way.
He said he was enjoying retirement from politics when the federal Liberals came looking for him to be the party’s 2019 flag-bearer in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.
The party sensed the local riding could be won by the Grits following the momentum of the 2015 campaign that fell short of a win, but yielded the most votes the party has ever received in the constituency.
Lake said he was at first reluctant to re-enter politics, but was convinced to do so after discussions with friends and colleagues.
Confident the Liberals will again form government, Lake said he felt the party needed someone with his experience and name recognition to win in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.
“I felt like I owed it to the country,” Lake said. “It sounds kind of corny, but I really felt a responsibility not to squander that and to put it to good use so we could have a Liberal MP in our riding.”
As a member of government, Lake said, he could bring more benefits to the region than could an opposition MP, noting his positive relationships with members of the government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself.
Lake pointed to his time in municipal and provincial politics as evidence he can be part of a team that brings projects to the region, noting expansions at Royal Inland Hospital, Thompson Rivers University and NorKam senior secondary as examples.
Born in England, Lake came to Canada when he was 10.
“The sense of pride in this country has never left me,” he said.
He has called Kamloops home since 1997, when he accepted a teaching position in the animal health program at what was then the University College of the Cariboo, moving his family from the Lower Mainland, where he had a veterinary practice.
Two years later, he ran for city council, placing ninth.
“That was my only — so far, touch wood — election loss,” Lake said.
In 2002, Lake was elected to council and, in 2005, became mayor of Kamloops.
He set his sights on provincial politics in 2009 and was elected as the B.C. Liberal MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson.
Lake was appointed minister of environment during that term. Following his re-election in 2013, he became health minister.
Choosing to retire from provincial politics ahead of the 2017 election, Lake took a job as vice-president of corporate social responsibility and communications for the Quebec-based cannabis company Hexo Corp., from which he is on leave during the campaign.
If elected MP, Lake said he would focus on the opioid crisis and B.C.’s forestry industry challenges.
Q: What specifically do you want to do for/bring to the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding that is not here or being done now?
A: “We haven’t had the attention of the federal government that we deserve and I think my experience will help make projects around the riding a priority.”
Q: What is the issue most being raised by voters as you talk to them?
A: “Climate change, maintaining a strong economy and affordability for young families.”
Q: First past the post or proportional representation?
A: First past the post because “I haven’t seen a workable form of proportional representation that has consensus among Canadians.”
Q: In your opinion,
who was Canada’s
greatest prime minister?
A: “Pierre Trudeau for his role in repatriating the Canadian Constitution.”
Q: If you could not vote for yourself, which other candidate would get your vote?
A: “Because I’m a veterinarian, I would have to put it with Kira [Cheeseborough] and the Animal Protection Party.”
VITAL STATISTICS AND CONTACT INFORMATION
Family status: married, with three daughters
Facebook: Terry Lake 2019
Campaign office: 448 Victoria St. downtown
Find the Liberal platform, when it is released, online at liberal.ca.