Eric Foster (politician)

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Eric Foster
MLA
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Vernon-Monashee
Assumed office
May 12, 2009
Preceded by Tom Christensen
Personal details
Born 1949 (age 68–69)[1]
Political party BC Liberal
Spouse(s) Janice
Residence Lumby, British Columbia
Occupation Forestry technician, instructor

Eric Foster (born 1949) is a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, Canada, and a member of the BC Liberal Party. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly from the riding of Vernon-Monashee in the 2009 provincial election. In the 39th Parliament of British Columbia, Foster was not named to Premier Gordon Campbell's cabinet, but he was appointed deputy whip. As a member of the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives which he voted to initiate province-wide referendum concerning the Harmonized Sales Tax. He was also a member of the Special Committee to Review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills. Prior to his involvement with provincial politics, Foster served 12 years as municipal councillor and 3 years as mayor of Lumby, British Columbia.

Background[edit]

Originally from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Eric Foster moved to British Columbia and worked in the forestry industry. With his wife and son, Foster moved to Lumby, from Vernon, working at a Lumby lumber mill.[2] In the 1990s he became an educational assistant helping to develop the forestry program at Charles Bloom Secondary School. He became a municipal councilor in Lumby in 1990 and was re-elected until 2002 when he ran for mayor but lost.[3] He filed his nomination papers to run for mayor again in 2005 but, with no other person being nominated, he was acclaimed mayor.[4] At the time, he noted downtown revitalization and building a road to connect the village with Silver Star Mountain resort as priorities. He represented Lumby on the Regional District of North Okanagan board of directors during his tenure as mayor. He fought the School Board who tried to close Charles Bloom Secondary School, in favour of busing student to the expanded secondary school in Vernon,[5] as well as fought the proposed closure of Whitevale Elementary in rural Lumby.[6] He resented what he saw as provincial downloading of responsibilities, like riparian area regulations and police funding.[7][8] He supported Lumby participating in a new Regional District economic development function, but opted out of a Regional District emergency service function (opting to contract the service out to the City of Vernon).[9][10] In 2008, he was again acclaimed as mayor, as no one else sought the position.[11] In January 2009 he was acclaimed chair of the Regional District board of directors,[12] however, as MLA Tom Christensen announced his retirement in the same month, Foster announced his intention to seek the BC Liberal nomination in up-coming provincial election.[13]

Provincial politics[edit]

In nomination election was held in March and with over 800 BC Liberal Party members voting,[14] Foster defeated four other candidates: Lumby councilor Deb Leroux, morning radio host Betty Selin, Coldstream businessman Michael Tindall, and lawyer Andrew Powell.[15][16][17] He took a leave of absence from his job as mayor to campaign for the provincial election where he faced school-bus driver Mark Olsen for the New Democratic Party,[18] computer analyst Huguette Allen for the BC Green Party,[19] salesman Dean Skoreyko for the BC Conservative Party, retired Coldstream resident RJ Busch for the BC Refederation Party,[20] and Armstrong butcher Gordon Campbell (non-affiliated). Premier and BC Liberal Party leader Gordon Campbell campaigned with Foster in Vernon but was involved in what was perceived as an offense joke at the expense of striking paramedics.[21] Foster won the riding, with his BC Liberals winning all Okanagan-Shuswap ridings.[22] The BC Liberals were re-elected to form another majority government. Beginning the 39th Parliament, Premier Campbell did not include Foster in his cabinet but he was named deputy whip for the Liberal caucus.[23] Foster was also a member of the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills in the first two sessions, and which met only once in each session. Foster was a member of the Special Committee to Review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act which presented its report and recommendations in May 2010.

Foster developed a feud with Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall who accused Foster of deceiving voters and of speaking very little in the legislature.[24][25] He defended the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax but became a target for recall when an Anti-HST petition gathered more signature in the Vernon-Monashee riding than votes that elected him.[26] He was member of the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives which was forced to deal with the Anti-HST petition. Along party lines, Foster and the BC Liberals in favour of initiating a province-wide referendum.[27] Foster was among 13 BC Liberals left out during a late-October cabinet (and parliamentary secretary) shuffle by Premier Campbell.[28] During the BC Liberal leadership election, following the resignation of Campbell, Foster endorsed George Abbott citing his profile as an Interior MLA, his team-building skills, and analytical decision-making.[29] Christy Clark eventually won and, thus, became premier. She kept Foster as the deputy whip[30] until September 2012 when he was promoted to government whip.[31]

Meanwhile, as the FightHST group continued to investigate a recall campaign against Foster, he accused the group of trying to "overthrow the government".[32][33] On local issues, Foster lobbied in favour of locating a new regional correctional facility in Lumby,[34] building a large new sports facility at Okanagan College,[35] and resolving overcrowding at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital.[36]

Election history[edit]

British Columbia general election, 2017: Vernon-Monashee
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Eric Foster 13,625 47.87
New Democratic Barry Charles Dorval 8,355 29.36
Green Keli Westgate 6,139 21.57
Libertarian Don Jefcoat 341 1.20
Total valid votes 28,460 100.00
Source: Elections BC[37]
B.C. General Election 2009: Vernon-Monashee
Party Candidate Votes % ± Expenditures
Liberal Eric Foster 9,015 37% n/a $89,935
     NDP Mark Olsen 7,698 32% n/a $42,427
Green Huguette Allen 4,029 17% n/a $18,783
Conservative Dean Skoreyko 1,972 8% n/a $5,617
     Non-affiliated Gordon Campbell 1,397 6% n/a $250
Refederation R.J. Busch 76 0.3% n/a $260
Total Valid Votes 24,187 100%
Total Rejected Ballots 213 0.9%
Turnout 24,400 54%

References[edit]

  1. ^ MLA welcomes challenge Smith, Jennifer. The Morning Star [Vernon, B.C] 28 Dec 2014.
  2. ^ "Foster forecasting bright year for Lumby". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. December 28, 2005. p. 9. 
  3. ^ "Local Election Results 2002". The Province. Vancouver. November 18, 2002. p. 9. 
  4. ^ "Foster wins mayor's race". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. October 16, 2005. p. 5. 
  5. ^ "Lumby council ready to fight for high school". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. December 7, 2005. p. 7. 
  6. ^ "Regional district joins fray over school closure". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. April 7, 2006. p. 3. 
  7. ^ "News Briefs". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. March 22, 2006. p. 6. 
  8. ^ "Lumby mayor targets police funding". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. October 25, 2006. p. 17. 
  9. ^ "Lumby council backs district's plan". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. October 20, 2006. p. 20. 
  10. ^ "News Briefs". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. October 18, 2006. p. 6. 
  11. ^ Knox, Roger (October 10, 2008). "Foster returned as Lumby mayor". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 4. 
  12. ^ Rolke, Richard (December 11, 2008). "Foster acclaimed board chairman". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 6. 
  13. ^ Rolke, Richard (January 20, 2009). "Quest for MLA's position packed". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  14. ^ Rolke, Richard (March 8, 2009). "Foster Captures Liberal title". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  15. ^ Rolke, Richard (January 20, 2009). "Quest for MLA's position packed". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  16. ^ Knox, Roger (January 22, 2009). "Radio personality tunes into political move". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 3. 
  17. ^ "Liberal nomination continues to draw interest". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. January 29, 2009. p. 3. 
  18. ^ Bermingham, John (April 14, 2009). "Hot ridings to watch". The Province. Vancouver. p. 6. 
  19. ^ Rolke, Richard (March 24, 2009). "Allen enters provincial race". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 7. 
  20. ^ Rolke, Richard (April 21, 2009). "Coldstream resident enters race for MLA". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 6. 
  21. ^ Ivens, Andy (May 8, 2009). "Joke offends paramedics". Times Colonist. Victoria, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  22. ^ Lazaruk, Susan (May 13, 2009). "Liberals sweep Okanagan ridings". The Province. Vancouver. p. 12. 
  23. ^ Rolke, Richard (July 11, 2009). "MLA will be cracking the whip". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 3. 
  24. ^ Rolke, Richard (December 3, 2009). "NDP accusations have local MLA on the attack". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 3. 
  25. ^ Rolke, Richard (September 4, 2010). "MLA defends himself against opposition attacks on the HST". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  26. ^ Rolke, Richard (June 24, 2010). "MLAs target of recall plans". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  27. ^ Rolke, Richard (September 14, 2010). "MLA backs referendum". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  28. ^ Mickleburgh, Rod (October 29, 2010). "The 9-per-cent Premier pays and plays for popularity". The Globe and Mail. p. 3. 
  29. ^ Rolke, Richard (December 7, 2010). "Foster throws support behind Abbott". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 10. 
  30. ^ Rolke, Richard (September 7, 2012). "Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster granted expanded duties in Victoria". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. 
  31. ^ Rolke, Richard (March 16, 2011). "MLA gets education post". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 5. 
  32. ^ Rolke, Richard (October 28, 2010). "Foster goes on the attack over local recall efforts". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  33. ^ Rolke, Richard (November 16, 2010). "MLA questions recall motives". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 7. 
  34. ^ Rolke, Richard (May 4, 2011). "Prison process proceeds". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 6. 
  35. ^ Rolke, Richard (April 8, 2011). "Field of sports dreams not dead yet". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  36. ^ Rolke, Richard (April 17, 2011). "Foster pushes for beds". The Morning Star. Vernon, British Columbia. p. 5. 
  37. ^ "2017 Provincial General Election Preliminary Voting Results". Elections BC. Retrieved 11 May 2017. 

External links[edit]