The B.C. Liberals appear to have issues with their candidates in Boundary Similkameen.
In 2009, they didn't want Joe Cardoso. Now, the future of incumbent John Slater is as clear as mud.
In 2009, Cardoso won a hotly contested nomination meeting against two mayors, Slater of Osoyoos and Ron Hovanes of Oliver. After securing the nomination, only a week later party
officials deemed Cardoso to be an "unsuitable" candidate. Nobody ever spoke publicly, including then premier Gordon Campbell, but the only evidence suggesting their disdain for the candidate was a letter to the Oliver Chronicle in 2005 by Cardoso that was critical of the premier.
Cardoso was dumped, a second meeting was held and Slater became the
candidate. Cardoso ran for the Conservatives and finished behind Slater and NDPer Lakhvinder Jhaj, but his 20 per cent of the vote was the highest of any Tory in the province.
Slater has been far from a household name, yet his recent uncertainty has caught the attention of political scribes in both Vancouver and Victoria. He's the last incumbent not to be officially nominated by the party.
Anticipating an early election which never happened, NDPers in Boundary Similkameen chose a candidate ages ago. Marji Basso is from Oliver, a school teacher, a former town councillor, her kids are star students and her husband coaches the high-school basketball team.
Cardoso announced Wednesday he will not run for either party and is taking a break from politics.
Now, after Slater announced he would seek re-election, he's not so sure.
Linda Larson, former mayor of Oliver, is considering a run at the nomination. Larson said the job is still Slater's, but she has been approached by some people about running.
"I'm trying to do what's best for the party. If they feel Linda can do a better job taking on an opponent, that's their call," Slater told The Okanagan Sunday.
Translation: the party believes Slater won't win and will put a female candidate from Oliver (Basso) against another female candidate from Oliver (Larson) knowing that if they're to win the large geographic riding they're going to need Oliver. Larson appears to be their best option.
Or maybe Slater is just tired and wants to step down. We'll soon find out as the provincial election is in May.
- Penticton Editor James Miller