Terry Lake, the former Kamloops mayor, B.C. Liberal MLA and health minister, may venture into federal politics.
Lake told KTW he is considering seeking the nomination as the federal Liberal party candidate in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo in the Oct. 21 election, having been encouraged to announce his candidacy by members of the party and other supporters over the past year.
“I was pretty sure I was done politics when I didn’t run again provincially, but enough people have asked me about this that it’s at least started me thinking about it,” Lake said.
A political comeback wasn’t something he had planned on doing and he said there is much for him to consider before making a decision, such as his job as the vice-president of corporate and social responsibility and communications for marijuana producer Hexo Corp.
“I would probably seek a leave of absence because you want to work full time once the campaign gets underway in the fall,” he said.
Lake said he also wants to get a better understanding of the local riding association structure and find out if there would be work he can do regarding the opioid crisis if he ran successfully in October.
“There’s certainly no decision at this point,” Lake said. “I have to make sure that if I do this it’s going to be meaningful.”
His past as a B.C. Liberal is also something Lake is weighing in his decision.
While they share the same name, the federal and B.C. Liberal parties are not affiliated.
The B.C. Liberals consist of a coalition of conservative and liberal politicians, Lake said, noting he considered himself a liberal in that party when he was first elected MLA in 2009.
“One thing that is a challenge for me is that a lot of people that have supported me over the last eight years in provincial politics, a lot of those people were conservatives that supported the B.C. Liberals and many are my friends,” Lake said.
“I know some of those people would be disappointed for me thinking about running for the [federal] Liberals.”
He said he wants to hear from these individuals and get their opinion.
“Ultimately, it’ll be my decision to make with my family, but it’s important for me to know how they feel,” he said.
Lake said he supported the federal Liberal party prior to his provincial career and renewed his membership at about the time he introduced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Liberal Party of Canada’s $300 per plate lunch in Kamloops on Jan. 9.
While he has not put a timeline on making a decision, Lake expects the party will want to have its nomination process underway within the next couple of months. Though unaware of any others who may also be considering the nomination, he hopes many put their names forward — for the Liberals and other parties, as well.
Steve Powrie, the local Liberal candidate in 2015, announced late last year he would not seek the nomination.
The 2015 results in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo saw Conservative Cathy McLeod get re-elected with 24,595 votes, followed by New Democrat Bill Sundhu, with 21,466 votes, and Powrie, with 21,215 votes. Green candidate Matt Greenwood’s received 2,489 votes.
Powrie’s 21,215 votes were the most ever received by a Liberal candidate in the riding.
Voter turnout was 73.4 per cent.
ONLY ONE CANDIDATE CONFIRMED
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod will again carry the Conservative flag in the next election, but it remains to be seen who her challengers will be. While Lake mulls a run for the Liberal nomination, there has been no word on possible candidates in the New Democrat, Green or People’s Party ranks.