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Lekstrom considering run for Liberal leadership

Blair Lekstrom, the MLA who quit cabinet and the B.C. Liberal Party caucus over how the introduction of the HST was handled, is considering running for the leadership of the party.

“I'm going to go home and speak with my family,” Lekstrom, the MLA for Peace River South, said in a phone interview. “Does it interest me, yeah. I'd do some things differently.”

The decision to leave cabinet in June was the right decision at the time and it is a happy coincidence that it has positioned him as someone with some distance from the HST and departing premier Gordon Campbell, he said. “I made the right decision for myself, my family and the constituents I represent.”

He's maintained good relationships with many of the people in the Liberal caucus who understood his decision, while with others relations were strained, he said, adding he's unsure how that would affect a leadership campaign.

People in the party have not tended to be up front about their leadership ambitions, he said, though he named Kevin Falcon, George Abbott, Michael de Jong and Rich Coleman as likely or possible candidates.

Within the next week to 10 days people considering running for leader will likely put their names forward, he said.

Today's Globe and Mail also identifies Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Conservative Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Chuck Strahl as possible contenders.

Premier Campbell held a news conference this morning where he reflected on his time in office and his decision to resign. He said he will stay on as the MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey and as leader until a replacement is decided, a process that could take seven months.

“I think that's going to be a tough decision not just for himself but for the people around him,” said Lekstrom. People running for the leadership may still find it hard to contradict the premier on points they disagree with, even though Campbell has said he's leaving, he said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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