Robin Smith knows he has some ground to make up in the race for the region’s B.C. Liberal Party nomination.
The North Vancouver resident filed his papers last week to run for the Liberal nomination in the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky provincial riding, setting up what appears to be a two-horse race between himself and Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy.
With Sturdy having declared his intention to seek the nomination several months ago, Smith acknowledged Sturdy has the jump on him when it comes to convincing party members who should replace outgoing MLA Joan McIntyre on the ballot this spring.
“He’s had a several-months’ head start and, frankly, he’s done a great job signing up new members,” Smith said Tuesday (Jan. 29). “But that doesn’t stop me from saying, ‘Hey, I think a race is a good thing.’”
Smith said he’s always had an interest in politics, but was unwilling to leave his long career in the food and agriculture business to put his name out there. Recently retired from his post as executive director and CEO of the B.C. Dairy Association, Smith said he felt now was the time to jump into the political arena.
“I never wanted to give up my business career to do it, but I felt that right now it’s a really important thing to do to step forward,” he said. “I’m concerned about where the province might be going and I don’t like what I see when I read news about the polls. I’ve been through NDP governments before and I don’t want to do it again.”
Smith has lived in either North or West Vancouver for the past 25 years, but said he recognizes the issues unique to the Sea to Sky Corridor as well. When asked what would make him a more attractive candidate than Sturdy for the nomination, he pointed to his 40-year background doing business in B.C. and beyond.
“I think my business experience and knowledge of how the economy in this province works, the basis of how we create jobs, and create money to have the health care and education systems we need — I think that’s something I can offer to the people of the riding that is a different approach than my compatriot Liberal there,” he said.
“We just have a very different background and people have a choice.”
Though he does not currently live in the riding — “It just happens I’m on the wrong side of the creek right now,” he said — Smith said he would consider a move back within the district if elected.
Sturdy, meanwhile, said his camp has been preparing for the upcoming nomination meetings as though there would be an opponent to run against all along.
“We did anticipate (that), and that’s why we went out and really did what we could to enhance membership in the riding with people who would generally be supportive of my candidacy,” Sturdy said.
Party members will be able to vote for a candidate at polls that will be set up in Whistler, Pemberton, Squamish and West Vancouver on Feb. 15 and 16.