Kamloops This Week
Peter Milobar will seek the B.C. Liberal nomination in Kamloops-North Kamloops.
Milobar will remain as mayor of Kamloops while he battles Steve Puhallo for the nomination that opened up after current MLA and Health Minister Terry Lake announced recently that he will not seek a third term in the May 9, 2017, provincial election.
Milobar confirmed his candidacy for the nomination at a press conference Tuesday morning, Sept. 6, on McArthur Island.
Puhallo announced his candidacy at a press conference Friday, Sept. 2, at Wilson House in North Kamloops, home of the North Shore Business Improvement Association, of which he is executive director.
Milobar pointed to his two terms as a city councillor and three successful campaigns for mayor as proof he has what it takes to lead the B.C. LIberals to another victory in the riding.
“I feel I know what it takes to campaign, I know what it takes to get the vote out and, in a riding that frankly will probably be pretty close, that’s going to count for a lot,” he said.
Milobar said as an MLA, he would try to continue Lake’s partnership with Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone, who is running again for the Liberals in that riding.
“We’ve heard Todd Stone talk about the great teamwork that he and Terry had developed, making sure that the ridings were almost seamless, and I want to continue that on because I think that does provide a lot of strength for the overall riding,” he said.
A nomination date for the party has not yet been set, though Puhallo told media last week he hopes to see a candidate selected before the Liberals’ pre-election convention in early November.
Should Milobar win that contest, he said he would not immediately step down as mayor, but would take a leave of absence once the election period formally begins.
“We don’t shut down city hall when we’re in a municipal campaign, so I’m very experienced in knowing when you’re at a community event and speaking for the City of Kamloops and when you’re at a more partisan political event. I know how to separate the two,” he said.
Milobar said he would also be speaking to council about whether to continue as the city’s negotiator with KGHM Ajax if he becomes the party’s nominee.
The city is in talks with the mining company to create a community benefit agreement for its proposed copper and gold mine south of Aberdeen.
If he were to win the nomination and the general election, Milobar said he would expect to see a by-election held to replace him, though that decision would be up to city council.
While he can run for a higher level of office without giving up his seat, should any councillors seek to replace him, Milobar said he believes they would need to first resign from council.
That could mean multiple seats up for grabs should a civic byelection come to pass.