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MP considers entering Liberal leadership race

Although the region's rookie MP may be interested in the Liberal Party's leadership race, he doesn't have the support of some key local organizers.

Although the region's rookie MP may be interested in the Liberal Party's leadership race, he doesn't have the support of some key local organizers.

Blair Wilson, who represents West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky country riding, told large media outlets last week he is entertaining the possibility of becoming the 12th candidate in the Liberal leadership race.

In a story by the Vancouver Sun's Peter O'Neil, published on May 24, Wilson was quoted as saying he wouldn't rule the possibility out.

Subsequently, the Peak called Wilson five times, using three different phone numbers, to talk to him about his plans. As of press time, Wilson had not returned the phone calls.

Meanwhile, sources close to the Liberal Party told the Peak a group of Powell River organizers are working together as a team on the Ken Dryden leadership campaign.

Joka Polman Tuin, Wilson's Powell River campaign manager for the 2006 federal election, Dave Formosa, Laurie McNeill, Rod Johnston and Sharon Feduniak have been stumping for Dryden.

The Peak phoned Feduniak and she confirmed the rumour.

"We are selling memberships for people to support Ken Dryden," she said.

Dryden, a Hall of Fame goaltender and six-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens, travelled to Powell River last year to campaign with Wilson. Dryden, then minister of social development, and Wilson visited Brooks Secondary School, Tla'Amin (Sliammon) First Nation Chi Chuy Kindergarten, met with early childhood educators, administrators and caregivers, visited Family Place in the Powell River's Town Centre Mall and opened Wilson's campaign office.

Throughout the visit, people lined up to shake Dryden's hand and ask for his autograph.

Wilson appointed 2010 Olympics critic

Meanwhile, Wilson was appointed the Liberal critic for Sport and Vancouver Olympics on Tuesday (May 30) by Bill Graham, the interim Leader of the Opposition.

"Six of the Olympics' 11 competition venues, as well as all of the Paralympic events, are in my riding, so this position is a natural fit," Wilson said in a media release. "As the new critic for Sport and Vancouver Olympics, I will ensure that we have an Olympics and Paralympics that all Canadians can be proud of.

"To have those Games we need the full backing of the federal government. However, the current government has not approved the VANOC (Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games') request for $55 million in additional funding to cope with rising construction costs in B.C.

"John Furlong and VANOC have put together a professional plan, and the federal government needs to provide the funding that they need to get the job done."

Wilson has been involved in the Olympics and Paralympic Games since he organized the Rally on Robson on March 2, 2003, at the request of Furlong. The appointment was made as part of a re-organization within the Liberal caucus that will allow previous critics that are currently running for the party's leadership to focus on their campaigns.

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