Former Parksville mayor Ed Mayne is pulling out of the Liberal leadership race and throwing his support behind George Abbott.
In an exclusive interview Thursday, Mayne said Abbott, who had received the support of Moira Stilwell earlier in the week, had the qualities he wants to see in the new premier.
“He is, more than any other candidate, closest to the approach we are taking,” he said. “He has got a much more open concept of government and he is from a small town area, much like the Parksville situation. We have got a lot in common and at the six or seven events I was at, he struck me as by far the most closely aligned with the way we were thinking.”
In particular, Mayne said he was attracted by Abbott’s style of leadership.
“We’ve advocated, from the first day, the collaborative and consultative approach to government, versus the one man ruling the roost concept,” he said. “We are looking for someone who will listen to the public and listen to the grassroots, and I think George is that man.”
Mayne said he plans to spend the remaining days of the Liberal leadership contest stumping for his candidate of choice.
“For the next nine days I will be traveling with George and we are going to be campaigning to get him elected,” he said. “When we’re done that on the 27th of February, when all is said and done, I’m going to sit back and take it easy for a couple of days.”
Mayne stressed however that he plans to run for a seat in the B.C. legislature on the Liberal side of the House.
“Absolutely,” he said. “When it becomes available, I will run for a seat. That’s one of the things I’ve said right from the beginning. I thought, if you run and you are not prepared to stay on in government if you are not successful, you are not showing your dedication and commitment to the party.”
Mayne said his leadership bid was hampered by a short timeline and lack of public profile.
“Starting on Jan. 4 was definitely a downside to the campaign,” he said. “When you have virtually no name recognition, five weeks is not enough to get it done. I would have liked to have had longer, but I didn’t want to trigger a byelection in Parksville for mayor.”
Despite his lack of success in the overall race, Mayne said he has no regrets.
“For me, it gave a whole new perspective of provincial politics and I got to meet a number of people and widen my horizons,” he said. “We accomplished a lot. We went from zero to the point where we are going to have an impact on this election — all within five weeks. That’s not a bad thing to be able to say.”