Colin Mayes plans to keep an eye on the 2013 B.C. election.
It’s because it will mark the first time in more than a decade that Mayes, the former mayor of Salmon Arm and now MP for the Okanagan-Shuswap riding, won’t be collaborating with longtime provincial politician counterpart, Shuswap MLA George Abbott.
Five people are vying for the right to replace Abbott as the Liberal candidate in the provincial vote. Abbott is retiring from politics.
“I try to keep out of provincial politics but there is a changing of the guard in the Shuswap riding,” said Mayes, 64, the MP for Okanagan-Shuswap since January 2006. “George has either been a critic of a ministry or has been a cabinet minister of many things, and he has served the riding well.
“It will be interesting to see who we have as a new MLA.”
Mayes pointed to working with provincial partners on improving the Highway 97 corridor in the riding, as well as the Trans-Canada Highway, as key highlights.
He also said it would be interesting to see which party wins the provincial election in the spring. Abbott’s Liberals are supposed to be on the way out, losing to the NDP, if you believe polls that suggest such a thing. Mayes, for one, puts no stock in political polls.
“The polls were completely wrong in the last federal election (2011),” he laughed. “The polls said the Bloc (Quebecois) would stay the same, the Liberals would gain, the NDP would lose ground and we’d never get our majority. “Wrong on all four counts.”
Because Mayes’ Conservative party now has a majority government, it made things easier to move forward on a number of items, which he said the party did in 2012.
“A number of our bills came forward, such as cracking down on crime, we were happy to get that bill through. Our budget bill to deal with the economy was a great one.”
Ah, the economy. Mayes said it’s the No. 1 topic among constituents.
“A lot of initiatives in our budget cut red tape and will ensure government is not in the way of businesses doing well,” he said. “We’ve done a number of initiatives to help with that and create jobs so people can go to work and we’ll see some economic growth in our area.
“I’ve talked to a few small business people who have said it’s been a tough fall and they hope things pick up through Christmas.”
On a personal level in 2013, Mayes wants to get back to the constituency more often.
“I found last year because we’re trying to get as much of our legislation through as possible, it hasn’t given me the chance to be home as much as I’d like,” said Mayes.
He also wants to relax more in 2013.
“I’d like to get out and play the championship course at the Salmon Arm Golf Club,” said Mayes. “I haven’t been there in two years and, as a member, that’s not very good. I have to make those decisions to say ‘no,’ and take some time. I’m going to try and do more of that.”