Up against another Vancouver Island resident

Up against another Vancouver Island resident

Alberni’s Darren Deluca hopes to be the next MLA candidate for BC Liberals

On March 11 Deluca will know if he can run for Liberal seat

Port Alberni’s Darren DeLuca hopes to be the official Liberal MLA candidate for the Mid-Island Pacific Rim riding in the upcoming B.C. election.

Running against Bowser resident Stephen Cross, DeLuca said they will find out who is chosen to officially represent the party in this riding (formerly Alberni-Pacific Rim) on March 11. At that time BC Liberal members will vote at a candidate selection meeting, he explained.

“I think there’s about 180 members and they’re the ones that will vote, so it’s a matter of campaigning but on a micro level,” DeLuca said. “Thats kind of the first hurdle, to get the nomination.”

DeLuca ran for MLA with the BC Liberals in 2013 after he was approached by Premier Christy Clark.

“[Clark] said I need a candidate in Alberni and they’re telling me you’re the best option,” DeLuca said. “It wasn’t really something that I planned on doing but I’m always for new challenges.”

Now, with more campaign and political experience, DeLuca hopes to be the next champion in Victoria representing Mid-Island Pacific Rim.

“We’re getting left behind and I think we can do a lot better. For me it’s a lot about going to Victoria and being on the side of government,” DeLuca said. “I have very good relations with a lot of the ministers and with the premier; those are hard things to do.”

Issues like poverty and unemployment in the Alberni Valley are at the forefront for DeLuca but he is also passionate about seeing improvement to Highway 4 sooner rather than later.

“We didn’t get a new highway yet but we do have $25 million committed and I’m actively lobbying Minister [Todd] Stone to have that money spent,” DeLuca said. “I don’t want to see a 10-year deal, I want to see a four-year deal.”

In addition, DeLuca would like to see better access to backcountry around the Valley, forest tenure reform and a united understanding of what is reconciliation.

“I think one of the first things we need to do is really agree what does reconciliation mean… I think it means different things to different people.” DeLuca said. “Until we can decide what reconciliation means, I don’t think we can really solve that problem and that’s something I would be very willing to work on and lead on if I got elected.”

DeLuca was born in Port Alberni, moved away at the age of two, returned for his Grade 10 year and has remained ever since. He is a RE/MAX realtor and operates a big-game hunting company, Vancouver Island Guide Outfitters.

He has a passion for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BC Hockey League and is a current director with the hockey society that runs the Bulldogs. He is involved in many other projects around the Valley too.

“I’m involved in a prescribed burn program, trying to bring the practice of prescribed burns, which is burning slashes to create forage. We’re trying to push it forward,” he said.

If nominated to run for MLA on March 11, DeLuca will have about 60 days to campaign, whereas in 2013 he said he only had three weeks.

“We had $1,300 in the bank and no campaign team, we still did okay. This year is quite different, we did a lot more work organizing,” DeLuca said. “I think we have $25,000 or $30,000 in the bank. We worked really hard on fundraising.”

karly.blats@albernivalleynews.com

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