Recent History – 2000
Nov. 17, 2000
DAWSON CREEK — Mayor Blair Lekstrom is expected to secure the B.C. Liberal nomination for Peace River South Saturday.
Lekstrom, the sole contestant for the Liberal nomination, will be acclaimed at a nomination meeting of the Peace River South B.C. Liberal Riding Association, Saturday 1:30 p.m. at the Sudeten Hall.
Riding president Joanne Anderson said that despite having only one candidate, the acclamation is a necessary step of the process.
“There won’t be any voting, but we have to formalize it.”
The actual process is expected to only take about 20 minutes, she said.
Current MLA, independent Jack Weisgerber will attend the meeting, Anderson said, “just for support. He’s the local MLA.”
The attempt to move from municipal to provincial politics does not come as a surprise to anyone who followed the municipal elections in November 1999, when Lekstrom already made known his ambitions, eventually, lay beyond the City of Dawson Creek.
He took out a membership in the B.C. Liberal Party around that same time.
“I love the job I’m doing — politics interest me and I think I can make a contribution as a provincial representative,” Lekstrom said in an interview Thursday.
He will remain the mayor of Dawson Creek until the writ is dropped for the election, at which time he will take a leave of absence and one of the council members will become acting mayor.
If elected, Lekstrom would give up his position as mayor, triggering a by-election.
Known for his union work while working for BC Tel before being elected mayor, Lekstrom said he’ll be running for the Liberals instead of the NDP because “there has to be a change in the B.C. government.”
“The Liberal platform is the closest to what the province needs right now.”
However, Lekstrom said that doesn’t mean he agrees 100 per cent with all Liberal policies.
“I have some stronger views on justice aspects that I think I can bring to the table.”
Saying he’ll only take the process one step at a time, he also said that, if elected, and if the Liberals form the next B.C. government, he wouldn’t be opposed to a cabinet position.
“I’ll take it if asked,” he said, claiming a wide interest but expressing particular appetite for such portfolios as Municipal Affairs and Labour.
“I think there’s a huge development opportunity in every portfolio,” he said.
Lekstrom said he has the support of his family, and plans to run a positive campaign when the election is called, expected anytime before June 2001.
The biggest task for the B.C. Liberals, if they would form the next government, is to regain the trust of the province’s residents in its legislators.
“Earning the respect and trust of the people is the biggest job we have to do and I think we can do that,” he said.
In the case of a municipal by-election, Lekstrom said he has no idea who will be running for mayor. Contrary to Lekstrom’s attempt to move into provincial politics, if one or more of the councillors would want to run for mayor, they would have to step down from council and their seat would also become part of the by-election.