Terry Lake seeking federal Liberal nomination in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo – CTV News

Terry Lake seeking federal Liberal nomination in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo - CTV News
Former B.C. health minister Terry Lake seeking federal Liberal nomination in Kamloops
A former British Columbia politician who stepped away from provincial politics two years ago is ready to return, but this time he hopes to run federally.

Former B.C. health minister Terry Lake has confirmed he will seek the federal Liberal nomination in B.C.'s southern Interior riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.

The riding covers an area from Kamloops in the south to Valemount and the Alberta boundary in the northeast.

Nearly three-quarters of the district's population is centred in Kamloops, where Lake, a veterinarian, served as a councillor, and then mayor between 2002 and 2008.

Lake has spent the last two years as vice-president of corporate and social responsibility at Quebec-based marijuana company Hydropothecary Corp.

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The Liberal Party of Canada has attracted a high-profile candidate in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo. Former B.C. Liberal minister and Kamloops mayor Terry Lake is hoping to be the party’s nominee in the fall’s federal election.

“I am confident that the Liberal Party of Canada and I think it is important that Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo and British Columbia as a whole has a strong voice in that government,” Lake said.

“For too long, we have not had a strong voice in Ottawa to advance British Columbia’s views.”

The experienced politician will seek the Liberal nomination in his home riding. A nomination meeting has not been set yet.

The riding has been Conservative since it was formed in 2004. Cathy McLeod won the seat with 24,595 votes, a 1,139 ballot margin over NDP candidate Bill Sundhu in the 2015 election. Liberal candidate Steve Powrie finished a close third with 21,215 votes.

“Even in the rural areas, people are willing to consider more than just one party these days. I think having a candidate that has demonstrated their commitment to their constituents will be meaningful to people when they make their choice,” Lake said.

Lake served as Kamloops’ mayor from 2005 to 2008 before making the jump to provincial politics. He then served as an MLA from 2009 until 2017, when he walked away from politics.

The longtime politician served in high-profile roles in Christy Clark’s cabinet as minister of the environment during the debate over the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline, and health minister during the ongoing fentanyl crisis.

“When I made the decision in 2017 not to run again, I thought I was done with politics. I have had the opportunity to now work in the private sector and I have really enjoyed it,” Lake said.

“I see the choices we have in front of us and some of the progress we have made on issues like climate change, Indigenous reconciliation, the child benefit that has lifted so many families out of poverty. I’m really concerned that we would not continue that momentum in a very progressive way.”

Before entering politics, Lake worked as a veterinarian. He is currently the vice-president of corporate social responsibility at cannabis company Hexo Corp.

“Getting through legalization was a terrific experience and I really wasn’t thinking about getting back into public life,” Lake said.

Lake says he met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in January in Kamloops. The pair discussed the ongoing drug overdose crisis and providing more federal support.

He says the recent SNC-Lavalin scandal made him think hard about “whether I wanted to get back into politics.” Lake says he is convinced the issue is about people having a different interpretation of events.

“I know there are different opinions but I know as a cabinet minister, there are always disagreements that occur and that is politics. At the end of the day, you have to decide if you want to be part of the team and I have decided this is the team I want to be a part of,” Lake said.