Longtime provincial New Democrat Leonard Krog has announced his bid to become mayor of Nanaimo.
Krog is a five-term MLA. He was first elected in 1991 in Parksville-Qualicum then served four terms in Nanaimo.
Krog said he has been mulling over the idea of running to become Nanaimo's mayor for several years but made his decision because of the political dysfunction at city hall.
"I think the final thing was that many people said to me 'look I will run for council if you run for mayor but I'm not going to do it if you won't' and these are people I respect. These are people who would make excellent councillors," Krog said.
If Krog becomes mayor, he will resign his seat and a byelection would be required in the Nanaimo riding. It is considered a safe NDP seat but a loss to the Liberals would leave Premier John Horgan's minority government tied with the Opposition at 43 seats, with one independent. The NDP-Green Party alliance currently has a razor-thin majority in the legislature.
Krog said his decision to run had nothing to do with being left out of Horgan's cabinet. He will not be resigning his seat as MLA as he runs for mayor but will forgo his salary during his one-month mayoral campaign period in the fall. The nomination period for B.C.'s general local elections is from Sept. 4 to Sept. 14 and the campaign starts on Sept. 22 until the general voting day on Oct. 20.
"There's no sense in going through a byelection and it's my intention also that I won't draw [a] salary during the campaign period until such time as I do resign my seat if, in fact, I win," Krog said.
Krog said Horgan was surprised when he told him about his intentions.
"This was not a discussion I had with him," Krog said.
"It was a discussion I had with my wife in particular."
Krog also said he is not worried about the slim lead the NDP and the Green Part have in the legislature if he does end up resigning.
"I don't expect the NDP to lose the Nanaimo constituency. This is a new, young government. It's popular."
As for the mayoral race, Krog said he is excited about the prospects for the city and he hopes he is part of a more stable city council after the election on Oct. 20.
"There's been a long-standing challenge in the city and Leonard believes - and many, many, many people believe - that he is the best person to address that,'' Horgan said during a news conference in Grand Forks, B.C.
"I wish him all the best and I know that he'll be continuing his duties as MLA to continue to represent the citizens of Nanaimo until the election period begins in the fall.''
With files from The Canadian Press