“I’m not doing it for me. I’m doing it for my kids and my grandkids.”

Merritt resident Tony Luck has announced his candidacy for the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) position for the Fraser-Nicola riding with the Conservative Party in the upcoming provincial elections.

Luck has been involved in the political world for a while. He was a city councillor for the City of Merritt between 2018-2022, and decided to run for mayor in the 2022 elections, when Mayor Mike Goetz was elected. 

Luck was also a city councillor for the City of Mission between 2012-2016, where he also ran for mayor back in 2014, but did not get elected.

“I have an understanding of the political system to some degree. I mean, there’s always more to learn, but I have an understanding of the political system and how it works,” he added. 

His decision to run for MLA stems from a desire to address the needs of what he calls fundamental changes.

“I think there’s been a little bit too much shift to the left recently. I think people are starting to realize how expensive free is and I think people are deciding to say ‘you know what, we’re a little uncomfortable there’,” Luck said.

“We want to start moving back to more of the common sense that we’ve seen in the past that seemed to work. People have tried some different things and they’re just not working like they used to.” 

His desire to address pressing issues facing the region, such as healthcare, infrastructure and housing definitely contributed to his decision on running for MLA.

“We’ve got a lot of challenges when it comes to the weather, to infrastructure, those kinds of things. I was talking about housing before it became popular,” Luck stated. “I have a pretty good base and understanding of what’s going on. So now, I’m hoping to come in and try and mend some of that because it’s been a real challenge for a lot of governments.”

“I work well with people as well and understand and listen to what the people have to say, and where we’re going and be able to articulate. I think a really important (thing) is to be articulate. Here’s the issues that we’re having and here’s maybe some of the solutions we can look at.”

According to Luck, in the Conservative Party, he will be able to “speak our minds on a number of issues and things”, in his words, differently to what the current MLA and party currently do.

“I think she’s tied to some philosophies around the party that she belongs to,” he said. “He (John Rustad) wants to have a more open caucus. One of the things we want to look at is being able to have more conversations with the public. What I would like to do is, when John and I meet and we start meeting, I’m going to be an advocate for a citizens assembly.” 

“I’m going to be listening a little bit more. Not listening so much to the party’s issues and things like that, but certainly want to be a little more open and listen to the people and that kind of thing. So I think I’m gonna bring that to the table rather than where we’ve been.”

Luck added that despite being in the Conservative Party, he wants to make sure that everyone feels heard if he gets elected.

“I’ll be advocating for everybody. Once I become MLA, I have to represent anybody in the community,” he said. “I did that as a councillor as well, we were trying to do the best we could for everybody in the community, even though some people don’t understand that.”

“We’re conservatives and that’s our policy, and that’s what we’re going to do. But we’re there to support everybody. Listen to everybody. That’s why if I advocate and if  we can get those citizens assemblies, we’re gonna want to take a broad perspective from the community.  We don’t just want all conservatives or all liberal or all NDP. We want to make sure we’ve got a good broad spectrum and that, you know, healthy conversation around the table.”

On March 23, the Conservative Party hosted a Meet the Candidate forum with Luck and Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman.

Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman was at the Meet the Candidate forum in Merritt, hosted by the Conservative Party of BC. Photo/Laísa Condé

A few Merritt and neighbouring communities’ members gathered at the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame to listen to what Luck and Banman had to say.

The community engagement was marked by questions on how the Conservative Party and its members will address important issues such as healthcare, housing and education.

“They’re (the current government) leaving that to our grandkids to clean up. It’s unconscionable. Education is a mess. Affordability is a mess. Housing is a mess. Crime is off the streets. Rampant use of drugs is a mess, because that sure as heck ain’t working for anybody,” said Banman during the forum.

Luck and Banman continued to engaged in a constructive dialogue with attendees and highlighted a few of the goals and governmental plan the party has.

The 2024 provincial elections are scheduled for Oct. 19. Advanced polls are set to occur between Oct. 10-13 and Oct. 15 and 16.

To vote in the upcoming election, voters must be Canadian citizens, aged 18 or older, and a resident of B.C. for the six months before the final voting day (Oct. 19).