Friday, December 19, 2008

Herb hopes to head for Victoria in 2009

What has been perhaps the worst kept secret in the city has finally been confirmed, former Mayor Herb Pond will be seeking the nomination for the BC Liberal party to be the candidate in the upcoming provincial election in May of 2009.

The former Mayor, a recently minted member of the BC Liberals, confirmed on Thursday that after having been put through the a thorough vetting process by the BC Liberals, he now stands ready to seek the nomination and the opportunity to challenge for the North Coast seat in the legislature, a seat currently held by NDP MLA Gary Coons.

It has long been suspected that the Liberals had been courting the former Mayor, considered a particular favourite of Premier Gordon Campbell, who made frequent appearances in the city to praise Pond for his work on behalf of the residents of the North Coast.

Whether that high profile backing will hold much cache with the local riding association remains to be seen, the recent hiring controversy at City Hall of the summer past, ruffled more than a few feathers in the community, many of those feathers were Liberal ones, Liberals who may have a long memory when it comes to offering their support and financial contributions to any potential Pond candidacy on the North Coast.

The Liberal head office however, may twist enough arms locally expressing the belief that Mr. Pond offers up the best opportunity to take the riding away from the NDP, a riding that once was represented by Bill Belsey, but returned to the NDP who have been the traditional holders of the riding in recent times.

The possible showdown between Pond and Coons however does provide for an interesting run up to next years election, while cordial, there has at times appeared to be a bit of controversy between the two principles over many of the issues affecting Prince Rupert and the North coast.

As the cold weather makes its grip on the North Coast, there will be nothing like a hotly contested election campaign preamble to heat up the political scene.

The Northern View outlined some of the details on the new political direction for Mr. Pond, posted online on Thursday, while The Daily News provided some background on the potential candidacy in Thursday's paper.

Herb Pond prepared to be MLA
Former Rupert mayor wants to represent the Liberals on the North Coast
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Page one

After an extensive background check, former Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond has been given the all-clear by the B.C. Liberal Party to seek the right to represent the Liberals in the upcoming provincial election.

In what has been one of the worst-kept secrets in town, Pond said he was reticent to announce his intention to run for the Liberals before Wednesday because he wanted to clear all the hurdles and formalities before going public.

"I don't know if there are other people considering running or not, I don't know but I've been authorized to be a nominee," confirmed Pond.

Pond said the background check is very thorough to make sure there are no "skeletons in the closet" and if there were, the party would become aware of them. Next, the party reviews the background info and determines whether or not the candidate is good for consideration and Pond passed.

He said the questions are mostly of the legal variety and there is a finance check and references drawn from the community.

"And I know for sure they called them all because they then called me to say they were called," said Pond.

While it may have been well-known around town that Pond was considering running for the BC Liberals he claimed that he only recently joined the BC Liberal Party, explaining that during his time as mayor he wanted to maintain his impartiality for the good of the city.

"As mayor, I was very much interested in being inclusive and non-partisan and reaching out to everybody so I am in many ways learning about the Liberal party," said Pond.

Pond was mayor for two-terms but announced in October he would not seek a third. At the time, it was speculated that he would be running for the nomination but Pond would not confirm nor deny the rumours, stating only that he was contemplating it.

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