Ousted Liberal MLA denies having drinking problem
Former BC Liberal MLA John Slater, who resigned this week to serve as an independent, speaks to CTV News. Jan. 15, 2013.
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 10:18PM PST
A former BC Liberal backbencher whose re-election bid was rejected this week over “personal issues” that reportedly involve alcohol denies he ever had a drinking problem.
The party announced Monday it felt Boundary-Similkameen MLA John Slater’s issues, which it did not specify, would impact his ability to serve the party.
Slater later admitted to an incident last spring when he ingested an unfortunate combination of prescription medication, antihistamines and a glass of wine that did not mix well together.
He was seen swaying down the hallway of the legislature before being ushered into a Liberal party caucus room for several hours.
But Slater insists he’s never had an issue with alcohol, and believes there’s something more behind his ouster from the party.
“It wasn’t just the alcohol. The Liberal party’s never kicked out somebody for having an extra beer or two. I don’t know why they’re using that as an excuse,” Slater told CTV News. “My functionality in this riding has been second to none.”
Slater suggests the party grew tired of him privately questioning Liberal policies, and didn’t have faith in his ability to score re-election in a hotly-contested riding.
“I think it’s deplorable. I really do,” he said.
Slater resigned from the Liberal caucus on Monday to serve as an independent.
Prior to being elected in 2009, he was a veteran municipal politician, including serving six years as the mayor of Osoyoos.
Liberal Party executive director Mike McDonald said Monday the party is quickly moving forward to find a new candidate.
"It's an exceptional situation, and this is not something we take lightly," McDonald said. "We try to deal as discreetly and respectfully as possible. This is the last thing we want to see, getting into a situation like this."
With files from The Canadian Press