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Former NDP cabinet minister Harry Lali joins Opposition BC United, cites rural divide

VICTORIA — A former New Democrat cabinet minister says he is joining the Opposition BC United, saying his former party no longer champions rural British Columbia.

Harry Lali, who was the NDP’s transportation and highways minister in the late 1990s, says in a statement the New Democrats are now an urban interest party with little focus on issues and challenges facing rural communities.

Lali was first elected in 1991 in the Merritt-area riding of Yale-Lillooet and re-elected four times before his defeat in 2013 by Jackie Tegart, who now represents the Fraser-Nicola riding for BC United.

The 68-year-old ran unsuccessfully for the NDP in the Fraser-Nicola riding in 2017, despite former premier John Horgan asking him not to run.

Lali was seated in the legislature on Thursday when BC United Leader Kevin Falcon welcomed him to the party. 

The statement says Lali likes the small business and rural development focus of the BC United and he is a friend and supporter of Falcon.

“I firmly believe that the best interests of resource-dependent, small-town rural B.C., and British Columbia in general, will be best served by a Kevin Falcon-led BC United government after the next election,” the statement says. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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