John Slater, B.C. MLA for Boundary-Similkameen, is leaving the B.C. Liberals to sit as an Independent, as the party stated it did not approve his candidacy to run again over “personal issues.”
Slater announced Monday on Twitter that he’s stepping down from the caucus, with a message that began, “Eff. Today.”
His news was followed by the resignation of Zach Poturica, the B.C. Liberals’ riding president in Boundary-Similkameen.
“I'm not alone,” added Poturica on Twitter, who said three to four other members of the riding executive are stepping down too. “I'm disappointed in the way this party mislead us.”
The B.C. Liberals issued a news release on Tuesday saying that Slater told colleagues he was not going to seek re-election, only to reconsider that decision over the past week.
"Mr. Slater’s candidacy is not being approved due to personal issues that, in our view, impact his ability to represent the party," said B.C. Liberal president Sharon White.
"The party sought a cooperative solution through discussions with John. This is not a decision taken lightly and is fully considered."
Slater told the "Penticton Western News" that there were no such discussions. He claims that party officials convinced him to step down in December after showing him negative polls that claimed he had little chance of winning again. Slater told the newspaper he believes those polls were faked.
Slater also responded to speculation that the "personal issues" alluded to by the Liberals was an alcohol problem.
"I am an animated person at the best of times and if I have a few beer, I get more animated. Maybe that is what they are talking about," said Slater in the Penticton interview. "You can go around my constituency, all the meetings that I go to, week in, week out, that's never a problem in my riding."
In 2009, Slater beat the NDP’s Lakhvinder Jhaj by 813 votes for his first provincial victory.
Linda Larson, a councillor and former mayor in Oliver, told "The Vancouver Sun" on Friday that she had been approached by party officials to run in Boundary-Similkameen.