A provincial election has yet to called, but Lorne Doerkson is throwing his hat in the ring as Liberal MLA Donna Barnett’s potential successor in the Cariboo-Chilcotin riding.
Doerkson, 51, announced this week he will be seeking the B.C. Liberal nomination, saying he’s running “out of a love for the riding and all that is in it.” It’s the first foray into politics for the Williams Lake resident.
“I just feel like the Cariboo has had a pretty good representative in Donna and I don’t want that trend to go away,” Doerkson said. “More than ever now, the community needs to be heard up here.”
Barnett, who was elected MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin in 2009 and re-elected in 2017, announced earlier this year she won’t be running for re-election. The riding is the sixth-largest in the province.
Doerkson said if he wins the nomination, he hopes to carry on Barnett’s work, noting she has been “an amazing ambassador” for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
He maintains the province generally focuses on bigger populations, yet there are major issues that need to be addressed in this region, such as the $220-million upgrade to the Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake, treaty negotiations with the local First Nations and ensuring public meetings regarding caribou protection and moose hunting are open and transparent.
He believes land use planning around Crown leases and agricultural land reserves will be hot topics in the months and years to come.
“I think that’s going to require a lot of attention,” he said, noting he’s still getting to know the issues in the 100 Mile House area.
“At this point, it’s pretty early in the game. There are lots of unknowns right now; the big thing is we need to get our people into place. At the end of the day, whether it’s me or another candidate, our background and community involvement will be what we are judged on.”
Once a newspaper publisher with Black Press Media and sales manager and partner with Cariboo GM, Doerkson is currently a consultant with Investor’s Group in Williams Lake. He is an active volunteer in the lakecity as a Rotarian and the Williams Lake Stampede, to name a few. During his time in publishing, Doerkson also sat as president of the British Columbia and Yukon Community Newspaper Association and director of the Canadian Community Newspaper Association.
Mike Geoghegan, a Williams Lake consultant and political analyst, told Black Press Media he also plans to seek the BC Liberal Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA nomination.