Mission residents may or may not be aware of my decision to seek the nomination as the Conservative candidate in the next federal election.
It is not at all unusual for elected officials at one level of government to seek office at another level. In the 2013 provincial election, 14 mayors and city councillors were elected as MLAs mid-way through their municipal mandate. These include Dr. Doug Bing, now MLA for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, Simon Gibson, now MLA for Abbotsford-Mission and Minister of Education Peter Fassbender, formerly mayor of the City of Langley.
Sitting NDP MLAs Jenny Kwan and Mable Elmore are also currently contesting the nomination for a federal seat in Vancouver.
The challenge facing veteran politicians is this: Elections for different levels of government seldom line up neatly. This brings about by-elections. In fact, the clerk of the house in Victoria informed me that by-elections are budgeted for every year for a variety of reasons, including when MLAs seek federal office.
I must admit I was quite surprised when MP Randy Kamp announced he would not be seeking re-election. I supported him in his latest nomination/acclamation and actually signed his nomination papers. It has always been a consideration of mine to step forward federally whenever the time came that Randy retired.
That time has come sooner than I thought.
My decision to sit as an independent MLA during the federal nomination was made in discussions with the premier and other BC Liberals. Given the fact that BC Liberals are a coalition party of federal Conservatives and federal Liberals, we agreed I would sit as an independent MLA during the federal nomination process.
Let me be clear: I remain supportive of Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberals and will vote with the government in the legislature.
As for my MLA duties, I am fully committed to representing my Maple Ridge and Mission constituents in Victoria.
Furthermore, my office in Maple Ridge and my office in Mission, which I share with MLA Simon Gibson, remain staffed to help me meet the needs of residents.
Marc Dalton, MLA