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Slater to run again in the fall

Banished Liberal MLA and former mayor of Osoyoos John Slater will try for a seat on town council this fall, possibly even the mayor’s chair.

“I’m going to run for something, whether it’s mayor or council or whatever,” Slater said in an interview at his Osoyoos farm on Tuesday. He said he would decide within 60 days which office he will seek.

“People come up to me when I go to the grocery stores or the hardware store … and they’re going: ‘John, we want you to run. We want you to run,’” he said.

Slater was elected to town council in 1990 and 12 years later made a successful run for mayor. In 2009, running as a Liberal, he was elected as the MLA for Boundary-Similkemeen.

Shortly before the 2013 provincial election, Slater resigned from the Liberal caucus after the party refused to sign his nomination papers, citing unspecified “personal issues.” Linda Larson was a late replacement in the race and held on to the seat for the Liberals. 

In the interview Tuesday, Slater said the reason he was dropped as a Liberal was that “they didn’t like my attitude toward the party, which is fair. They had their opinion and I had my opinion.”

At the time, there were widespread rumours about Slater having a drinking problem. 

On Tuesday he acknowledged that he had a problem and that it is ongoing. He said that these days he is able to avoid alcohol most of the time. “It’s a 90/10 kind of thing. … But (once in a while) I relapse, I guess. I gotta deal with that.”  

Incumbent Mayor Stu Wells has indicated that he intends to seek re-election. But two councillors, Mike Plante and Michael Ryan, told the Osoyoos Times in May that they hadn’t decided whether they will run again in the November 15 municipal election.

Slater indicated that he would be running as a champion of the downtown business community. “There are lots of merchants downtown who are disappointed with (the mayor and council). … I am disappointed with the attitude of council (toward) keeping the downtown merchants happy.”

Slater said that he will continue to consult with members of the business community and will take their advice on whether to attempt to unseat Wells as mayor or to seek one of four councilor seats.

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