Peace River South MLA Blair Lekstrom was welcomed back into the BC Liberal caucus last Wednesday (March 2), just days after Christy Clark was selected as the party's leader two weekends ago.
“I've worked with Christy – I think she'll do a great job,” Lekstrom told the Tumbler Ridge News last Monday (February 28). “I support the vast majority of the the things we've done over the last 10 years as a member of the BC Liberal government. I'm certainly not going to walk away from that.”
Lekstrom said the Peace River South riding association had no clear favourite amongst Clark, Kevin Falcon, and George Abbott, who were the three front-runners for party leadership. Lekstrom did not throw his support behind any of the candidates.
“I thought all of them had the ability to do the job, so I didn't choose one over the other,” he said. Lekstrom indicated he'd held discussions with all candidates during their leadership campaigns over what direction they planned to take the party in.
Lekstrom was at the February 26 leadership vote in Vancouver, where Clark won the tight race. More than 62 per cent of the party's roughly 90,000 members casted a ballot in the contest, either online or in person. After Clark was chosen, Lekstrom had harsh words for the reaction from NDP leadership hopeful Adrian Dix, who called Clark “the worst cabinet minister we had in 25 years.”
“What he said Saturday night, moments after Christy Clark was elected, showed about as much class as the most classless person I've ever known,” said Lekstrom. “I certainly know there's differences with the New Democrats, but it just showed how little class that organization really has when people come out with comments like that.”
Lekstrom left caucus and his position as Energy Minister last June when he resigned over his opposition to the introduction of the harmonized sales tax (HST). Since then, he has been sitting as an independent MLA, though his BC Liberal party membership remained intact.
Prior to Clark's selection as leader, the legislature sat for a four-day session in mid-February, in order to carry out legal requirements of holding the throne speech and passing the 2011-2012 budget. It was the first sitting of the provincial government since June 2010, as no fall sitting of the legislature took place.
Clark left politics and became a talk radio host in 2005, after serving as Education Minister. She is now premier-elect, but does not have a seat as an MLA. It's expected she will run in a by-election in a Vancouver-area riding in order to gain a seat in the legislature.