The BC Liberals have been gearing up for their February 1st, 2nd, and 3rd election dates for who will be the next Liberal Leader.
Todd Stone, Andrew Wilkinson and Dianne Watts have made their way to our snowy mountain town to shake hands with the local Liberal Party Members with hopes to gain the confidence, and get the vote.
Vancouver-Langara MLA, Michael Lee stopped in Revelstoke on Thursday, January 18th to do the very same. Lee is relatively new to the game as he was recently elected in May of 2017, however, his life experience has garnered him many accolades as well as valuable experience.
Lee was born and raised in Vancouver after his parents immigrated from Hong Kong, he worked at his father’s drug stores and developed an understanding of health care sector as his mother was a nurse at Vancouver General Hospital. He attended UBC, worked with youth at risk in Chinatown and apart of a national youth advisory committee which led him into political science.
Lee was the Student Body President at UBC and on Community Services Board, which is where he began working with the Progressive Conservative Party alongside Kim Campbell. He worked with Campbell for one year in Vancouver, two and a half years in Ottawa, when she was Minister of Justice and Senior Political Minster of British Columbia.
Lee has 20 years working in the private sector as a lawyer alongside numerous industries from forestry, mining, and energy, all in which understand responsible resource development.
“I know we manage our resources within the strongest environmental and safety standards in the world, and I believe we have a strong BC brand. We should be producing those resources, the kind of resources that are needed for electric vehicles, the copper that is needed- that should be produced here- we are the largest miner of copper already in Canada, so as we continue to transition towards see more adoption of electric vehicles and electric transportation, we should be generating the resources we need to see here.” Lee told the Revelstoke Current.
Site-C is a topic of tension. Many are against the potential Dam for environmental reasons, however, Lee regards this as more than just job creation, he sees it as clean, reliable power that BC needs to see.
“I am a big supporter of the completion of Site-C. Not just for the jobs, but for the electrical grid and the framework we have for this province.”
Lee was external counsel for BC Hydro for five years in which time he was apart of separation of the transmission system to form a new crown corporation as well as working on corporate governance. Lee has an understanding of the capital cost and what it takes to maintain these massive facilities and power-lines as well as the buildout and the importance of the network around the province.
“Beyond Site-C, I do see the need to increase that grid, but also an opportunity to add alternative sources such as wind-power. I have worked on prospecting companies on wind in the Tumbler Ridge area, worked with (mining) companies that reopened mines in Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge, so I know the meaning of mine development in a responsible way and what it can mean to communities.”
The NDP are in strong support of Proportional Representation, our local MLA is adamantly against it, Lee is in support of his colleague and does not see a value in it for the betterment of BC.
“I am certainly apposed to Proportional Representation. I think it will be highly damaging to the democratic process and our province. We don’t need more division.”
Lee believes that he brings a fresh perspective to the race. One that is rooted in 30 years in the community, through social services as well as his political experience and his 20 years in the private sector. He feels he stands to bring a unique history and a different way of thinking.
“The other five are seasoned politicians, the main difference between the other five and myself, is that. I am new to legislature, but I am not new to politics.”
Running mate, MLA Andrew Wilkinson felt that their previous campaign was a disaster and that there should have been a better message as ‘Strong Economy’ landed in the North and the Interior but fell short by the ocean line. Lee feels that when it comes to a clear message, separating the areas will not benefit anyone.
“From a BC Liberal Party point of view, We need to talk as one. We need to talk as the province being connected. We can’t separate a campaign that might be focused on urban British Columbia vs the rest of the province. We need to reshape the narrative that we are successful together. That what happens in the Kootenays, North and Okanagan or on the Island helps generate the tax base that helps generate the services that we rely on across this province.”
Those that are card carrying Bc Liberal Members, can vote on February 1st, 2nd or 3rd for their choice in who will become the next Liberal Leader for British Columbia.