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Terry Lake - a politician with backbone

September 2, 2016 4:06 A.M.
Terry Lake faces crowd outside his constituency office in 2011. (Armchair Mayor News photo)

A NewsKamloops editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

TERRY LAKE announced Thursday he won’t run in next year’s provincial election and he’s already receiving cheers for his successes and boos for his failures. That’s to be expected.

He exits provincial politics at the zenith of his political career — he runs one of the most difficult of all portfolios, health, yet has retained widespread respect within the Christy Clark government, the public and even his opponents.

He can bask in the satisfaction of opening the new clinical services building at Royal Inland Hospital, and reflect on giving up on getting family doctors for the tens of thousands of healthcare orphans in B.C.

Whatever measure of success he’s enjoyed in politics comes in large measure because of his fearlessness in the line of fire.

It began when he first ran for a seat on Kamloops City council. He failed, but came back for a second try and managed to get in as a councilor, then parlayed that into a term as mayor before making the switch to Victoria.

On numerous occasions, he showed his ability to stand firm where politicians of lesser stuff would have cut and run. On one occasion, a large group of protesters showed up in front of his Tranquille Road office and demanded an audience with him about marijuana laws.

Lake came out on the sidewalk and forcefully laid out the facts about who has jurisdiction in such matters. The wind was taken out of the crowd’s indignation.

Another time, when paranoia ran rampant over a plan to build a cogeneration plant, he appeared at a large protest rally and refused to kowtow to the crowd.

As mayor, when Betty Hinton appeared at a City council meeting to chew out the council on an issue, Lake declined to take it on the chin and made it clear he wasn’t going to take any guff from the difficult MP.

Then, of course, there was the last provincial election. The government was in trouble, and the Kamloops-North Thompson riding was widely regarded as a sure thing for the NDP. It would have been a good time for Lake to retire.

But instead of backing away, he ran again and, of course, won.

As with any politician, there’s lots to praise and criticize about Lake, but when it comes to backbone, Lake gets an A.

Got an opinion? Leave a comment here or write to letters@newskamloops.com.

jj says:
September 9, 2016 03:21pm

Nastiness from a nasty government. Nothing to be proud of.
http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/health-ministry-threatened-dozens-with-nasty-letters-after-firings-1.2012425

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Grouchy 1 says:
September 2, 2016 09:03am

Yeah, okay. Lake had the backbone of a snake, always slithering about the issues. He lso had the beak of a parrot, constantly parroting his ( not so ) glorious leader. Two terms nails down his pension, so off he goes in search of another cushy job.

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Greg says:
September 2, 2016 06:40am

So the evidence of backbone is coming out and forcefully telling some protestors...Hey man, this ain't my problem. Right, OK

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