If the B.C. Liberals are going to win the Parksville-Qualicum riding in the May 2013 provincial election, they will do it without their incumbent candidate.
MLA Ron Cantelon said this week he will not seek a third term in the Legislature.
“They don’t need me to win and they will win,” Cantleon told The NEWS on Monday.
A year after a heart attack, Cantelon said he has regained his health and he said he is looking forward to engaging in other pursuits.
“I’m not sure this (being MLA) is the best thing I want to be doing for the next four years,” said Cantelon. “It’s time to move on. I love to do projects and I love to get involved and there are other ways to do it besides being MLA.”
Cantelon said he has “no solid plans” at this time. “I’m going to look at the opportunities as they come,” he said.
When asked what project stands out during his time as MLA, Cantelon spoke of the Oceanside Health Centre, which is currently under construction and scheduled to open in June, 2013. Cantelon said that project was essentially driven by community groups and residents.
“I was really a semi-bystander in it all and that’s how it should be,” he said. “And (the health centre) is going to be more than what we hoped for.”
Cantelon won both elections in which he ran for the B.C. Liberals — 2005 and 2009 — by the same margin: 51 per cent of the vote to 38 per cent for candidates from the New Democratic Party. The Green Party candidate won 10 per cent of the vote in 2009 and nine per cent in 2005.
As for the question of who may run under the B.C. Liberal banner here in May, Cantelon wouldn’t identify anyone in particular.
“I’m very confident there will be a very good candidate,” he said. “There are a couple of very strong possibilities.”
Cantelon also said recent polling shows people are not jumping behind the NDP as they were earlier this year.
“This isn’t the time, with the global economic situation as it is, to take a chance (on the NDP).”
Barry Avis, the NDP candidate for Parksville-Qualicum, said his campaign plans won’t change because of Cantelon’s announcement.
“I hope everyone plans to run an above-the-board campaign, take the high road and address the issues,” said Avis.
He also applauded Cantelon for his work as MLA.
“I just want to say to Ron I really respect him for what he’s done locally,” said Avis. “I think he’s worked hard to serve our community. I wish him all good health in the future.”