Posted on 09 January 2013 by Keith Lacey
John Slater says he has no clue where he stands with the provincial Liberal Party following rampant speculation about him not running to retain his seat as Member of the Legislative Assembly for Boundary-Similkameen.
“All I know is I filed my application back in September and I haven’t heard anything back from the party since then,” said an obviously frustrated Slater late Monday afternoon. “I would like to know exactly what’s going on for my own mental health and my team deserves to know what’s going on as well.
“My team and my executive deserve to know what’s going on because they have a right to know too.”
Since filing his nomination papers back in September, Slater said he was under the assumption he would be the Liberal candidate for Boundary-Similkameen for the upcoming election.
Slater said he was surprised to read numerous media reports this past weekend suggesting he might not run again.
When he read that former Oliver mayor and longtime friend Linda Larson had been contacted about her possible interest in the nomination, Slater said he again tried to contact party officials, without success.
“They haven’t contacted me at all,” said Slater. “I need confirmation so I can make plans. If the party leadership wants to put someone else in my position (for the upcoming election) then I certainly would like to know as soon as possible.”
Despite this recent turmoil, Slater said he’s not upset at the recent media reports and “I will do what’s in the best interests of the party.”
Slater said he will be making an official announcement about his political future before the end of the week.
Slater is a first-time MLA after having served six years as the mayor of Osoyoos. He served 12 years as a Town of Osoyoos councillor before becoming mayor.
Slater is the only incumbent member of the Liberal Party who has not been nominated or does not have a nomination meeting planned, with the provincial election set for the second week in May.
In 2009, Slater became the MLA for Boundary-Similkameen in a hotly-contested race against NDP candidate Lakhvinder Jhaj, who he defeated by just over 800 votes.
This past summer, Slater told the Osoyoos Times he was going to have to consider all of his options following the death of his mother.
However, a month later, he announced his intentions to try and win a second term.
B.C. Liberal campaign director Mike McDonald has confirmed there aren’t any plans in place for Slater’s nomination.
On Monday, Larson admitted she has been approached to see if she would consider running in the next provincial election and she said she is interested, but only if and when Slater officially makes his announcement to step out of the political ring.
“Until the time that John makes an official announcement about his intentions, he will remain the local MLA,” said Larson, who just returned to Oliver town council following more than six years away. “I have been asked if I might consider the Liberal nomination if John decides to step aside and I confirmed I am interested, but John is a very good friend of mine and he will remain the MLA and local candidate until he states otherwise.”
Larson was the mayor of Oliver between 1998 and 2005 and during that time she and Slater became good friends and they remain very good friends to this day, she said.
“John was the first local mayor to see beyond borders and look at bringing in a more regional economic model for this area,” she said. “I have great respect for John and whatever he decides to so, I support him 100 per cent. I won’t be making any decisions until I know what John is going to do.”
During her six years away from municipal politics, Larson has spent a lot of time volunteering. She is currently the chair of Community Futures Okanagan-Similkameen and is also chair of the Community Futures provincial board of directors. She has also spent several years as the vice-chair of the province’s Small Business Roundtable board of directors.
Following the death of his mother Pearl in early September, Slater told the Osoyoos Times he wanted to take some time before making a final decision on whether or not to continue his career in politics.
“I have to do a lot of thinking before I make a final announcement in a couple of weeks,” he said. “When you lose someone very close to you, it makes you re-evaluate things and I really want to take my time before I make a final announcement of what my intentions are about running again or not.”
Three weeks later, Slater confirmed that he had indeed filed his nomination papers and was going to seek re-election.
He made the decision after talking to numerous local constituents, who convinced him he has done a good job over the past three years and there is more good work to do should he retain his seat following the provincial election in May, said Slater.
Slater said he would try again to talk to party leadership before making an announcement about his future before the end of this week.