Former Lytton mayor Chris O’Connor says he’s not wild about Harry (Lali).
O’Connor announced last week that he’s running for the Liberal nomination in the Fraser-Nicola provincial riding. If he’s successful, he will go toe-to-toe with incumbent NDP MLA Harry Lali in next May’s provincial election.
“It’s all about representation and we certainly haven’t been getting it from our MLA of many, many years,” O’Connor said of Lali. “I think I can provide representation to every one of these rural communities and serve the constituency. I know how to do that and, frankly, our current MLA has rode us hard for the last 20 years and put us away wet and I’m tired of it.”
He needs 25 signatures on his nomination papers before he can become an official candidate for the Liberal nomination. “I know I can get 25 in Lillooet alone,” said a confident O’Connor during a Sept. 4 visit to the News Office.
O’Connor announced his plans the week after key MLAs and cabinet ministers – Kevin Falcon, George Abbott, John Les – announced they would not be seeking re-election and as Premier Christy Clark’s Liberal government continued to plummet in the polls.
Asked about Clark’s chances of remaining premier, O’Connor replied, “The glib answer would be ‘Ask Alison Redford in Alberta.’ The day before the Alberta election, she was destined to be the opposition leader. I think we’re entering the period of renewal that Christy promised. All these guys – Kevin Falcon, George Abbott, John Les – as much as I like all of them, they’ve been there for a long time and it’s time for new people, new ideas and new energy.”
He cited his many years on Lytton’s municipal council, his service on the Lillooet LRMP and Community Resource Board, his training as an RPF (Registered Professional Forester) and his more than 20 years as a manager with Lytton Lumber as examples of the experience he would bring to his role as MLA.
This is the not the first time O’Connor has tried to run for provincial office. He sought the provincial Liberal nomination in 2000, but lost to Dave Chutter, who was elected as MLA for the riding that was then known as Yale-Lillooet.
“I’m 12 years older and 12 years wiser with 12 more years of experience,” said O’Connor.
He said he expects the Liberal nomination meeting for Fraser-Nicola will be held in November. He added that he’s not aware of any other candidates entering the race to date.