Former Tumbler Ridge Resident Conservative Candidate for South Peace

Trent Ernst

On a snowy Peace Country day, former TR RCMP Detachment head and current BC Conservative candidate Kurt Peats (far right) blew into town with party leader John Cummins to meet with Mayor Darwin Wren.
It was supposed to be a close contest.  As the process drew to a close for the South Peace Provincial Conservative Nomination, it was tough to tell whether Bill Jackson or Kurt Peats would rule the day. 
“I was talking to my wife the day before the election,” says Kurt Peats, former head of the Tumbler Ridge RCMP detachment, now retired in Dawson Creek. “And I said to her ‘this is going to be a squeaker.’ Half an hour later, I got an email saying that Bill had withdrawn from the race. The next evening, Peats was acclaimed as the conservative candidate. 
There is no news yet on why Jackson withdrew from the race. A note on Jackson’s website reads “It is with great regret, particularly at this late moment, that I must withdraw my name as a candidate for tomorrow’s nomination vote. I am not at liberty at this time to explain why, although I hope to in the future. I can assure you that the timing of this withdrawal is completely outside my control.”
Peats says that the most noticeable difference now is that his phone is ringing far more frequently. “When I was in the RCMP, my phone rang 50 times a day. When I retired, it only rang a few times a week. Now, it’s ringing a few times an hour.”
Most of those calls, says Peats, are congratulations. “No hate mail yet,” he jokes.  
Peats says his mission is to represent the people of the South Peace. “When John Cummings was in town, I told him ‘Don’t expect me to salute every flag that runs up the pole in Victoria. If it is helpful for the people of the South Peace, I will support it. If it’s neutral, I’ll support it. If it’s detrimental, though, I will vote against it every time.’”
Peats will be up against Dawson Creek Mayor Mike Bernier, who is running for the Liberal Party. “I read an interview with the Liberal Candidate where he said he was a card carrying member of the Federal Conservative party,” says Peats. “I thought that was flattering, but don’t accept the counterfeit. Take the real thing. Now you can vote for a conservative with conservatives principles who will be part of a Conservative party whose message doesn’t get watered down once you get to Victoria.”
Peats says December is the calm before the storm. “Christmas will be my last supper before we move into silly season,” he says. “Before the writ is dropped a candidate can organize, get together and strategize, and there’s going to be a lot of that happening.” 
The election is expected to be held May 14, 2013. If Peats wins, it will be the first time since 1923 that the South Peace has had a Conservative MLA.