B.C. Liberals have picked up a high-profile candidate in the all-important political battleground of Surrey a week after another star candidate dropped out.
Peter Fassbender, the veteran mayor of the City of Langley, who was also involved in negotiating the RCMP's policing contract in B.C., said Thursday he will run for the Liberals in Surrey-Fleetwood. His commitment, to be made formal at a Friday news conference, comes after B.C. Liberal star candidate Sukh Dhaliwal, a former Liberal MP, dropped out of running in Surrey-Panorama Bridge after disclosing he was facing Income Tax Act charges.
Mr. Fassbender would be running against stalwart B.C. NDP MLA Jagrup Brar, who won the riding by 50 per cent of the vote compared to 39 per cent for his Liberal rival in 2009. Mr. Brar was first elected in 2005 in Surrey-Panorama Ridge. His current riding was created by redistribution in 2008.
Mr. Fassbender said he's been thinking of running provincially for some time, and was encouraged to run by Premier Christy Clark.
The three-term mayor said it appears likely he will be acclaimed. B.C. Liberal spokesmen were unavailable for comment.
Although Mr. Fassbender lives in Langley, he said decided on Surrey-Fleetwood because he is confident he knows the area and thinks he can win, partly by emphasizing his track record as a mayor.
B.C. Transportation Minister Mary Polak represents the riding Mr. Fassbender now lives in so he said he ruled out running there.
He said he will remain mayor pending the outcome of the May. 14 provincial election.
Mr. Fassbender said he expects the economy will be a key issue in the campaign.