In the wake of the federal election, in which he finished second to incumbent Conservative MP Cathy McLeod in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding, Terry Lake plans to return to the classroom at Thompson Rivers University.
He taught animal health at the school for eight years prior to entering politics (though he taught one semester in 2009 between his time as mayor and MLA) and will this time tackle the subject of business ethics. He is teaching two sections part-time beginning in January.
“It’s essentially corporate social responsibility, which is what I was doing at Hexo the last couple of years,” Lake told KTW, referring to the Gatineau, Que.-based cannabis company for which he worked after his time as a B.C. Liberal MLA and cabinet minister, political stints that followed roles as mayor and councillor in Kamloops.
He said corporate responsibility is about the social contract a business has with the society in which it operates, including what is known as the “triple-bottom-line” approach.
“To make sure that you’re looking after the environment, that you’re looking after social issues, that all of those considerations are part of the discussions, not just the bottom line of how much money you’re making,” Lake said.
He advocated for climate action during the federal election and took leave from Hexo during the campaign.
“They, like I, thought I had a good chance of getting elected and they went through a downsizing process,” Lake said. “They reduced their workforce from 1,100 to about 900 and so there was a number of executives that were part of that. For me, it was an agreement with the company that I would go on to different things. I really wanted to be based in Kamloops, British Columbia, and that didn’t fit with the plans that Hexo had.”
He said revenues in the cannabis industry have not met expectations, due to a lack of retail options.
“A lot of companies expected there would be far more retail opportunities than there have been and so revenues haven’t met expectations,” he said.
Lake said he looks forward to returning to the classroom and is eying other opportunities into the future. He said it is unlikely he would return to politics, but has not ruled it out completely.