The battle to become the new Liberal candidate for the Vancouver-False Creek provincial riding is heating up with the announcement former MLA Lorne Mayencourt has thrown his hat into the ring.
Mayencourt made the announcement Wednesday, Nov. 21, at small gathering at La Terrazza restaurant downtown, ending weeks of speculation he would run against another political heavyweight, former mayor Sam Sullivan, who announced his own candidacy earlier this month.
The two are seeking to replace Liberal MLA Mary McNeil, who has chosen not to run again in the May 2013 election.
Mayencourt was the Liberal MLA for the Vancouver-Burrard riding from 2001 to 2008. He then took a stab at federal politics, running unsuccessfully as a Conservative candidate in the Vancouver Centre riding against incumbent Liberal MP Hedy Fry.
Mayencourt, who has spent the past four years working as a government caucus outreach worker and CEO for a non-profit addiction services program, says he misses being more closely involved in B.C. politics.
“One thing I discovered after I left in 2008 was that I actually missed the people the people who work in the building, the people who work in the legislative assembly, and I also see lots of need and things I can be doing that can be very productive as far as providing a new basis for what our government puts forward,” he told the Courier shortly before announcing his candidacy. “I had a great experience running in 2008 but I think I fit better into a provincial setting.”
The eventual winner will represent a riding that gave the Liberals 59 per cent of the vote to the NDP’s 27 per cent in the last election. The Liberals are trailing badly in recent province-wide polls.
Mayencourt says he isn’t worried about the party’s lack of popularity under Premier Christy Clark.
“I remember many years ago, I met up with Senator Ray Perrault, and he said to me: ‘On a good day, son, only half the people hate you.’ So there is always going to be a time when governments, like our own or NDP governments or what have you, are going to be unpopular because of decisions that they’ve made.”
However, if unsuccessful in the nomination meeting, Mayencourt says he doesn’t think he’ll run for office again as a candidate of the federal Conservatives.
“Something I discovered is, the kind of legislation that gets dealt with at the federal level, while it is important, it is not as close to home as the province is… There certainly are some dividing lines for me like the closing of the Coast Guard, the management of the port from Victoria and a couple of other issues that relate to a woman’s choice with respect to abortions and stuff like that. We just don’t match up on it and I don’t think that that’s representative of the community that I want to represent.”
Others running for the nomination, expected to be decided by February, include former federal Liberal candidate Mary Pynenburg and lawyers Jacob Kojfmann and Brian Fixter. The eventual winner will take on political newcomer Matt Toner, a tech company entrepreneur who unexpectedly defeated Constance Barnes last week to become the riding’s NDP candidate.