After runs in both municipal and provincial politics, Liberal candidate Terry Lake is taking a shot at the federal seat for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.
Lake, who has served as a councillor and mayor of Kamloops, as well as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the provincial riding, said he’d initially retired from politics, but after a couple years of watching what’s going on in Canada, decided there’s some work to be done on the national level.
“First of all, the issue of climate change, making sure we’re doing enough to meet our targets and get to a low carbon economy—I think that’s the number one issue that all society faces, but particularly Canadians and I also feel there’s more to do on the opioid overdose situation,” said Lake.
“I think some of that could be done at the federal level; those are the two big things, but generally speaking, when I think about Canada and the path we’re on I really feel like Justing Trudeau’s government has us on the right path and I want us to continue.”
Climate change is of special concern in the riding when looking at the wildfires of the past couple of years and how it pertains to forest health, he added, noting it takes away opportunities for the forest industry to get the lumber needed to keep mills operational, leading to a negative impact on the quality of life people have in the area.
It’s not just the loss of jobs the ripple effect of climate change impacts, but also situations where people need to be evacuated from their homes and communities because of the increasing severity of extreme weather that also leads to mental and physical grief.
“The forest industry is facing tough times and much of that is due to climate change and the reduction for the timber that’s available, in fact, fire and beetle consumed five times as much area of forest than actual cutting of timber last year, but there’s perhaps more we can do to help transition the forest industry,” Lake said.
“Obviously continuing to defend Canada in the softwood lumber agreement—we don’t want to settle for a bad deal, we want to make sure we get a good deal out of those negotiations and let’s look at retraining opportunities for people that are experiencing job loss due to the downturn in the forest industry. I think that’s a big issue for us.”
Indigenous issues are also something Lake said he’d like to advocate for, noting First Nations groups in the riding such as the Simpcw have been working alongside the province and federal governments to find opportunities for economic development.
He added there have been decent talks regarding land claims and accommodations whenever First Nation groups in the riding have had traditional territory affected, and generally speaking the feds have had positive relationships with these communities, and Lake would like to see that continue into the future.
“I have a history of working well with the First Nations communities at a local and provincial level and I want to do that at the federal level as well.”
Lake used to be a practicing veterinarian and an instructor at Thompson Rivers University in animal health technology and among his former political duties served two years as Minister of Environment and four as Minister of Health.
He noted he worked closely with local governments, including the District of Clearwater, as well as past forest ministers to have the Vavenby mill reopened after its last shutdown.
“After eight years as MLA representing the North Thompson I feel I have a good idea of the concerns of the people in the area and I’ve worked hard on their behalf in the past; I’d bring that same effort and commitment as a federal MP as well.”