Blair Lekstrom says “we’re doomed for failure” if next B.C. Liberal leader fails to bring change
Former cabinet ministerBlair Lekstrom says he is in no hurry to rejoin the B.C. Liberal caucus but will still be watching the party leadership contenders closely.
“It’s not something I’m reaching out for at this point,” said the independent MLA for Peace River South. “And I think most people are going to wait and see what the leadership contenders have to say, and I as well am going to look at that.”
Lekstrom, who resigned from the Liberal caucus in June over the harmonized sales tax, announced today (November 22) that he has decided to not enter the race to replace Premier Gordon Campbell.
“I get to do a job right now as the MLA for Peace River South that I love and I’m honoured to hold and still maintain a quality of life with my family and friends,” he told the Straight today by phone from Dawson Creek, B.C.
“I think if a person was to seek the leadership and be successful, you’re going to have to give up some of that and I’m just not prepared to do that.”
Lekstrom emphasized that he parted ways with the Liberal caucus because of a disagreement over policy. He suggested he is open to considering rejoining.
“I’m going to continue to serve the people of Peace River South as an independent MLA,” he said. “I’m going to watch closely the leadership contenders and see where they stand.”
“If there is somebody that stands out and really reflects what I think the people of British Columbia and my constituency want, and there’s an opportunity to engage in a discussion, then I would engage in that or entertain that.”
Lekstrom said he had just heard about cabinet minister Moira Stilwell’s announcement that she plans to run for the Liberal leadership job and was reluctant to comment until learning more about her goals.
But he said standing apart from Campbell will be important for the next B.C. Liberal party leader.
“If we have a new leader that goes in and says, ”˜You know, I think everything’s gone just great and I’m the new leader and I’m going to keep doing it the same way,’ I think we’re doomed for failure,” Lekstrom said.
“It’s going to take somebody that, first of all, has to be able to stand up and say, ”˜We’ve made some mistakes,’” he added. “That person is going to have to work very hard at re-engaging the public in where we’re at as a province and where the government would like to go on behalf of the public.
The party leadership vote is set for February 26, 2011.