KAMLOOPS — Last September, Terry Lake announced he would be stepping away from provincial politics.
It is a bitter-sweet transition for the former Kamloops-North Thompson MLA and health minister.
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"I have mixed feelings about it," Lake said. "Relief in many ways because it was a tremendous amount of work and that adds up. It's hard on a person's medical and physical health, and also of course their family and everything else, the pressure that comes with it."
After serving two terms as MLA and holding cabinet posts as both environment minister and health minister, Lake decided it was time to hang up his hat.
When the new BC Liberal Cabinet was sworn in on Monday, Lake's days as health minister officially came to an end.
"I know I will miss it," he said, "but I know that Mary Polak, who has been named health minister, will be extremely good. She's always so capable at what she does."
Lake's successor will have a big job to do as they face the ongoing opioid crisis, an issue that weighed heavily on the former cabinet minister.
"You feel this tremendous responsibility," Lake said. "I mean, people are dying, people that are connected to people you know. Every British Columbian that died was held at one time by their mother or father. I felt a tremendous responsibility to do things that would save lives, and I think we did. In fact, we've done more than any other jurisdiction in North America."
The work is far from over, and while Lake won't be leading the fight, he's certainly willing to be a resource.
"Whoever the minister is, whether it's Mary (Polak) for a while, or the next minister, I'm always willing to talk to them because I think it's important that the people of British Columbia have a healthcare system that is evolving, and developing, and improving," Lake said.
"That's beyond politics, that's something we just need to make sure happens."
As for what's next for Lake: He's not sure, but he's not ready to stop working just yet.
"In terms of professional future, I'm still exploring professional opportunities, but you know, I'm too young to be on the sidelines not working," Lake said. "So I'm looking forward to the next chapter, and there are some interesting things that have been, you know, sort of been discussed, but no commitments that I've made at this point."
For now, Lake is enjoying the time he has to spend with family, friends, and his 13-year-old dog, Pal.
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